Japan’s World-Record-Setting Akashi Kaikyō Bridge

Did you know that the world’s longest suspension bridge is located in Japan? Called the Akashi Kaikyō Ōhashi (明石海峡大橋), the bridge is famous for its revolutionary engineering and stunning views. People can even take tours and climb it! Here’s everything you should know about Japan’s incredible Akashi Kaikyō Bridge.

Intro

The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge (明石海峡大橋) is a suspension bridge that connects Kobe City on the Japanese main island of Honshu to Awaji Island. It crosses over the Akashi Strait (Akashi Kaikyō, 明石海峡) as part of the highway that runs from Honshu all the way to Shikoku. The bridge was completed in the Spring of 1998, and at 1,991 meters (1.237 mi), it boasts the title of having the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world.

History

Before the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge was built, passengers crossed the Akashi Straight on ferries. This stretch of water is actually quite turbulent and often experiences dangerous storms. In 1955, two ferries full of passengers sank in the strait during a storm, and 168 people were killed. This tragedy led the Japanese government to develop plans for a bridge to cross the strait.

The original plan for construction was for a combination railway-road bridge, but when the work on the bridge began in April 1988, the construction plan was changed to a 6-lane roadway. Actual construction did not begin until May 1988, and involved contributions from over 100 different contractors.

When the bridge was finally completed and opened for traffic on April 5, 1998, the occasion was marked by a ceremony officiated by the Crown Prince Naruhito, the Crown Princess Masako, and the Construction Minister Tsutomu Kawara.

Construction

Construction of the bridge began in May 1988 and took close to ten years to complete. More than 100 contractors were involved in the construction of the bridge, …continue reading