The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, also known as the Pearl Bridge, it the world’s longest suspension bridge. It crosses the Akashi Strait between Maiko in Kobe and and Iwaya on Awaji Island as part of the Honshu-Shikoku Highway. It’s center span is 1,991m (6,532 ft.) and the overall length is 3,991m (12,831 ft.)
It is an amazing engineering accomplish. My student was able to join a tour of the bridge a few weeks ago and came to my class last week very excited to tell me about it. He was prepared with various brochures, a DVD and his short essay about his trip. I will share his essay her as I was quite impressed with it. He made very few mistakes and It took me only a few minutes to check and correct those.
Student’s Essay about the Akashi Channel Bridge:
Yesterday I went to the Akashi Channel Bridge and took a tour. We walked on the maintenance walkway. It is 3m wide. We then rode the elevator in the Kobe-side tower to observation deck at the top of the bridge. It is 289m above sea level. (Higher than the Tokyo Tower!)
The bird’s-eye view of the highway looking down the 1.12m diameter cables is spectacular!
The construction participants included almosts 210 million people around the world. In addition there were no accidents during the construction which lasted more than 10 years. It came as a surprise that compressed air is sent into the cables continously to prevent rusting of the cables. The bridge is expected to be in good conditions for 200 years. The consolidated foundations sent to the bottom of the sea had an accidental (positioning) error of just 5cm! Some experts had said that the accidental error could be expected to be +/- 1 to 2m.
It was a very expensive structure but I think such things are needed for man to really test what is possible with the latest technology. I am planning to take a tour soon myself as they say you are only allowed to take the tour once in your lifetime and as I am in Kobe, this my chance. By way, it was under construction during the Great Kobe Earthquake in 1995 and did not suffer any serious damage. It is an amazing structure and a tribute to what man can create. And it was inspirational for my student.