Donghai Bridge

Donghai Bridge is under construction. It is one of the most interesting projects I know besides the World Expo and the Hangzhou Bay bridge. The 32 km long bridge will extend to the island at the heart of the Hangzhou bay and it is the first bridge that will enable us to drive onto an island in Shanghai. The A2 expressway connects A20 and the bridge.

This is how the bridge will look like after completion.


Image in courtesy of

More Dong Hai Bridge pictures

At around 5:30 PM, I don’t know why but Wendy and I suddenly decided to drive there and see this bridge. It is not too far away from our home – 41 km means 30 minutes’ drive. We started from A20. When we turned right onto A2, as I expected, we are the only car on the newly completed express way. I believe it is safe to claim that A2 is the express way in Shanghai with the best traffic condition – I never saw a car before me or after me and only saw about 5 cars on the opposite direction.

The Chief Architect’s speech on TV last year, when the major part of the bridge completed, was very misleading. He welcomed people to drive to visit the bridge but it turned out that the area is still a big construction site. Huge, yes, really huge tractors and big carts run along the narrow roads, and my car looks so tiny on the road – just like a rabbit playing among the elephant. Within 20 minutes, we decided we’d better returned to A2, where we are the biggest vehicle on the empty expressway. I didn’t take any pictures – maybe next time, and when we returned to near my home to have dinner, it was about 8:00 PM. According to the report, when the bridge is completed, I can directly drive to the island in the sea, and transfer to fast boats to the other beautiful island nearby…

34 thoughts on “Donghai Bridge

  1. That is a beautiful picture! I hope I can drive on the bridge appreciating the views there soon.

    One thing concerns me about driving in China is the death toll on the roads: 680 die and 45,000 are injured every day compared with around 115 deaths a day in far more motorised America.The death rate on China’s roads is the highest in the world according to the World Health Organization.

    Here is a brief review of “Cars in China/Shanghai” in the following link if you are interested:

  2. Think in another way, how many people are living in China? 13 billion, about four times larger than that of United States, imaging it what would happen when China becomes motorised.

    Economic development always goes with such and such problems, but when we do comparison I think we should put all conditions togather and at certain circumstances.

  3. Does anybody know the expected completion date of Donghai Bridge? My husband and I went there and Lucao Harbor about four months ago, we experienced the same problem that Jianshuo did. There were big tractors stucking in the middle of the narrow unpaved road. We couldn’t move forward nor backward. Finally we managed to reach the bridge. We asked a watchman if we could drive all the way toward the end of bridge. He let us in for 10 RMB. We saw some people there perhaps waiting for their boat ride to somewhere.

    I hope this bridge can be finished ASAP as we would like to visit Ningpo. This bridge will drastically shorten the driving distance between Shanghai and Ningpo.

    Talking about highway casulties, I am not surprised about the high rate of death in China. From what I have observed, too many trucks overloaded. In fact, one shouldn’t be driving close to such vehicles as if they lose balances, it can either turn over easily or have cargos flying to your vehicle.

    Another major problem is I don’t understand why the drivers don’t turn down their high beams when there are cars coming on the opposite direction. These high beams can easily either blind other drivers vision or put a major strain on their visions. Tired drivers are more prone to accidents.

    Last weekend, we went to Zhuji, Yiwu in Zhejiang Province. Oh my!! You’ll be surprised to see how many drivers passing cars using the lanes of the opposite direction.

    This is why my husband and I decided not to apply for drivers’ licences here in China. One, we don’t know the roads well, and two, I would have a nervous wreck if I have to cope with the reckless driving condition. Three, I get really nervous when people honk at me when I didn’t do anything wrong. It drives me insane when tens of cars are lining to enter the Lujiazui Tunnel, aside from people trying to cut in, some crazy drivers behind us would honk non-stop. Who are they honking at? Jesus Christ!!

  4. Hi Tamie, thanks for sharing your personal “scary” experience with us.

    I think there are a few major reasons responsible for the high death rate on the roads.

    Firstly as you mentioned, so many trucks are overloaded. A friend from Beijing just told me the other day that he saw a truck overturned on a highway somewhere near Beijing. The truck was obvious overloaded and the driver was dead on the spot. There seems to be no effective regulations to control trucks.

    Secondly, there are too many novices who either just have got their driver’s licence or haven’t practised enough to drive on highways. These people normally cause lots of problems.

    Thirdly, lots of people drive while they are not feeling well. One of my friends had an accident a few months ago. She kept working for 3 days and nights without sleep and on the fourth day she drove to visit a customer and ended up driving into a trench on the side of the road. The scary part is that she had no idea how she got into there. She told me later that she felt a momentary pass out, thinking she was having a dream, then woke up only to find herself stuck in a big hole with the car. She wasn’t sure how long she has been there till she woke up. Whew!

  5. Hi Sabrina,

    Oh my! Are you sure your friend was not stoned? How could she not knowing how she end up in the trench and how long she stayed there? Well, all I can say is you should tell her not to drive if she’s not well rested. She may not be that lucky if there is a next time.

    I would advice people not to take taxis for long hawl rides. Many of the taxis are rented to drivers on per diem basis at a flat fee. In order to maximize the usage of the car, some drivers sublet their rented taxis to other drivers for a second shift. Any vehicles being driven continuously without much rest or maintainence are likely to have metal fatique and would break down at any moment. In addition, I suspect how well most taxis were manufactured. Without solid body frames, one can get seriously hurt in accidents.

    Furthermore, I doubt taxis have high insurance coverages. Do remember, human lives don’t carry as much moneytary values in China as in the States. I don’t mean to imply it’s better to die in the States. A life is a life, but without having to pay out too much, many drivers may not be as cautious as they should have. I read about the compensation paid to victims’ families of an plane crash occured in Inner Mongolian last year. The price ticket: $200,000RMB, which translates to $25,000US$.

  6. It is the site for Ocean Habor – for exteremely huge ocean ships to “park” there, so the goods can be transported to the mainland via trunks. Before that, they have to be put onto smaller ships and at this island and use the smaller ships to get near the mainland – it costs a lot.

  7. Hehe, with those who are scared driving in China, come to Paris, you have seen nothing yet, :-)

  8. ha ha – I know what you mean zhang – Paris is crazy, cars everywhere, no lanes – but you know what is even worse – ROME – they will squeeze a car into every cm of the road – people ride their scooters with their mobile phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other – all while dodging cars and trucks everywhere. Sabrina and I were there just the other month – you can read our experience if you wish here:

    But the interesting thing to note, is that although they are crazy drivers, there seems to be very few accidents, because everyone has driven for many years and have a lot of experience.

    I look forward to the challenge of driving in Shanghai when I get there in October.

  9. first time here and really really shocked!

    any way , you are something!

    I wonder whether you are qualified to apply for the Guinness Record:)

  10. HI Tamie,

    Unless the Small Yangshan Island is (or will be) connected to the mainland of the Zhejiang Province from the south, then the bridge will NOT shorten the driving distance between Shanghai and Ningpo at all.

    I have driven from Miami, FL to Key West (most southern point on the mainland of United States). It does feel like you are actually flying on the ocean surface.

  11. Just want to inform you all that this bridge will be ready before this November.

    At that time, the first phase construction of Yangshan Deep-water Container Port will be ready too.

  12. ILH,

    So, Donghai bridge is not going to reduce the distance from SH to Ningbo!! Too bad! But wouldn’t it make sense if it did?

    I know what you meant by flying on the ocean surface. I have similar experience driving over San Mateo Bridge in the Bay area. Since I don’t swim, I always get a eerie feeling driving “on top of the vast water”.


    Thank you for your info on the completion date. Hopefully it does open by Nov.

  13. Brad, take a look at this interesting post about Parisian:


    Replace the “petiteanglais” with “petiteanglaise”, don’t know why I can not post with “e”.

  14. For those people commenting on the bridge making the distance to Ningbo shorter: I won’t. This bridge will only go to Yangshan Island, although there are vage plans to continue it to Ningbo aswell.

    However, a second equally long bridge is also currently under construction, the Hangzhou Bay Bridge. This one will cross the Hangzhou Bay and therefore shorter the distance between Shanghai and Ningbo with about 150 kilometers. Unfortunately Shanghai government didnt allow the northend of the bridge to be build closer to Shanghai, otherwise it would have shortened the distance even more.

    What I also don’t understand at all is the Donghai Bridge. Why limit this bridge to trucks? Trucks are slow to load and expensive for transportation. It would probably be handier if they would have made the bridge wider, or give it an extra layer. This could then be used to add a railway to and from Shanghai and Hangzhou, making transport time much shorter.

  15. Hey zhang – thats really funny to read! I can relate to him well – especially because in Australia we drive on the left side of the road as well, so I was always looking the wrong way!

    I kept looking to the wrong side of the windscreen for the rear vision mirror! Made it interesting when dodging pedestrians and cheacking that no scooters were coming up from behind – I would look and there was no mirror so I would just weave anyway.

    Lots of fun!!

  16. 32km of single lane carrying a large number of container trucks! It won’t be a surprise if there are frequent huge tailbacks. How will shipping companies manage their schedules if that is the case?

  17. Can someone tell me how many km’s it is driving from Sjanghai to Ningbo and how much time that takes???

  18. What is the latest on accessibility to the Donghai Bridge. Can anyone drive across it? Is there anything to see on the other side? Is there a toll?

  19. Yep, I have the same question actually.

    I’m planning a big trip to my home country (I’ll be on a container ship from Shanghai to Holland, 26 days, instead of the plane, 11 hours. Crazy idea, I know).

    I have to be in the Yangshan port on 18 June 2007. How in the world do I get there????? Can anyone help me?

  20. I just heard that the Donghai Bridge is now open to private cars usage. Is this true? If so, where is the end point? Previously, I heard only tour buses or trucks were allowed to use it?

  21. The time it takes to drive between Ningbo-Shanghai is roughly 4-4.5 hrs if using the expressways. I ride my motorbike between the two cities often, but cannot use the expressways (motorcycles are forbidden, no matter how big the engine -this is China!) so it takes me around 5-6hrs o do the same journey. I just hope that when the new bridge HZ Bay bridge opens, they allow motorbikes to use it. Chinese government should really review the rules/regulations in regards to motorbikes especially large capacity ones -however essentially any motorcycle >250cc is illegal… though there is a small anomaly, which does allow bigger ikes to get licence plates. Anyway Chinese Government makes much more money from cars, trucks etc. so thats the priority for now… private car ownership. go greenhouse emissions!!!

  22. You may like to know that there will be a total eclipse of the Sun over Shanghai and Yangshan island is on the ‘central line’ where the duration of the eclipse is nearly 6 minutes. This will happen on 22nd July 2009 at 09:40am.

    I am planning to visit Shanghai and wonder if there will be any special bus trips or boats out to Yangsan or Shengsi islands on this eclipse day.

    Perhaps this is really a question for the Shanghai Bus Company or Shanghai Tourist Organisation.

    Any information or help would be great.

  23. It’s just for image, or more presice, egonism, that’s all. Having Mega-project make local goverment officals feel good and proud. Just like the megalev-trian project in Shanghai, it is a merely image-project and no boday care it is losing money everyday

  24. Hi Jian Shuo,

    I think you should take a new picture for Donghai Bridge by yourself that can complete this topic。


  25. I think this Donghai bridge is very important. I don’t know why. I have had dreams for 45 years of this bridge, long before is was built. like close encounters weird recurring dreams. This Bridge. I always wake up in the middle of driving across this bridge with my family. I never finish the drive. Thank you for posting the picture. J

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