Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge as a symbol of China’s self-reliance and collective strength
China is acknowledged for its exceptional bridges, with the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge standing out for its historical significance. During the Cultural Revolution in 1968, this double-decked bridge was a pioneering feat that broke new ground. It was the first modern bridge to be designed and constructed entirely by Chinese architects without any foreign assistance. As a result, it became an emblem of the nation’s strong will, collective power, independence, and unity and a cherished icon of Nanjing, China’s former capital. For generations in Nanjing and other parts of the country, it has been a source of pride, a reminder of the spirit of teamwork, and a symbol of technological achievement.
In 1937, an American bridge engineer claimed that building a Yangtze River bridge in Nanjing was impossible due to hydrological complexity and poor geological conditions. However, construction of the bridge officially began in 1960, with no foreign experts’ help, relying solely on China’s own bridge construction experience and firm determination to succeed. Workers and engineers put in a tremendous effort to ensure construction quality, with the bridge’s height and depth once being considered engineering marvels. The bridge even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records in the 1960s as the longest bridge with dual highway and railway functions.
Before the bridge was built, people and goods had to rely on ferries to cross the river. Trains passing through the city had to be disassembled and loaded onto boats to continue their journey. With the bridge’s completion, the lives of the city’s residents were transformed. It made crossing the river much easier and faster, reducing travel time, and becoming the main artery for north-south transportation. The bridge has played a crucial role in enhancing the city’s economy, culture, and social life, making it a vital part of the collective memory for generations in Nanjing and other parts of the country.