Sutong Bridge

Sutong Bridge

2008 - Sutong Bridge

  • 8.2km length bridge
  • 1,088m main span
  • 1 of 75 bridges crossing the Yangtze River in China

The Sutong Bridge fulfils a 1,000-year old dream for the people of Suzhou and Nantong on the two banks of the Yangtze river.

The only way to travel between the two cities was by ferry, on one of the busiest inland waterways in the world, a journey that is time-consuming and treacherous.

A collision between a cargo ship and a passenger ferry in May 1987 that killed 105 people convinced the authorities that the time had finally arrived to build a state-of-the-art bridge.

Spanning 8,206 metres (five miles) across the Yangtze River,this bridge has reduced the commute from Nantong to Shanghai by three hours and the long journey by ferry across the river is now a five minute drive over the bridge.

The inverted 'Y' pylons of the cable-stayed bridge are 306 metres high;suspending a central span of 1,088 metres to allow the passage of large container ships.

Crossing the Yangtze

The bridges across the Yangtze River, China's longest and largest river, form a vital part of the country's transportation infrastructure. The river bisects China from west to east, and every major north-south bound highway and railway must cross the Yangtze.

Until the completion of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge in 1957, there were no permanent bridges along the main stretch of the river known as Chang Jiang (the "Long river"), from Yibin to the river mouth in Shanghai, a distance of 2,884km.

Since then, more than 75 bridges and six tunnels have been built across this stretch, the majority since 1990. They reflect a variety of bridge designs and represent significant achievements in modern bridge engineering. several of these bridges rank among the world's longest suspension, cable-stayed, arch, truss and box girder bridges.

Dr Robin Sham

Robin Sham
Dr Robin Sham

Dr Robin Sham is the global long-span and speciality bridge director of AECOM. He is leading the bridge design and engineering of the longest modern bridges worldwide.

He is a Gold Medalist of the ICE, for "sustained contribution to civil engineering over many years that is of a significant magnitude and stature.

Dr Sham was recognised as a key innovator of the Taizhou Bridge, the world's first long-span, three-pylon, continuous suspension bridge. It is another of the Yangtze River bridges and has a pair of 1,080m suspension spans.

It was opened in 2012. The design has set a model for the future development of ultra-long span bridges worldwide.


Sutong Bridge
Designer / Engineer: Dr Robin Sham, AECOM
8.2km long, 1088m span


The crossing has boosted the local economy with increased traffic of more than 15% a year


Deep, dangerous channel, typhoons and tornado winds


The world's longest span cable-stayed bridge when completed


Cable-stayed bridges and development of China