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History: Crossing Xiang River in Changsha

Updated: 2014-08-15


Changsha, the capital city of Central China's Hunan province, is built along the Xiang River, which to the north divides the city into two parts. Previously, residents along the west bank of the river had to make a big journey to get to the city on the east side; but now it takes only a few minutes to cross over the river. The east and the west of Xiang River are now connected.

80-year-old Wang Xiulan is an indigenous Changsha resident, living along the Xiang River since she was born. Nowadays, she lives with her son in Xiang River Century City. When strolling along the river and looking at the bridges across it, she can't help feeling emotional. "It took an hour to cross over Xiang River years ago, because a ferry was the only choice and there would be lots of people waiting in line for the trip," said Wang, adding that the 6km-long Orange Island in the middle of the river forced people to transfer ferries there, so it was really inconvenient to cross over the river.



Residents on Orange Island cross the Xiang River over a temporary bridge on April 24, 2002. This bridge was built in 1968 and it was the most typical "strategic bridge" in Changsha at that time due to its specific location. [Photo/ Yu Zhixiong]

Actually there was a temporary bridge from the west of the river to Orange Island built in the 1960s. It was dismantled due to safety factors more than 30 years later. This temporary bridge was designed with no considerations for navigation and flooding. More than 10 people lost their lives there before the bridge was dismantled on Oct 25, 2002 and completely removed by the end of 2003.

Nowadays, there are 10 channels across the Xiang River within Changsha’s 3rd Ring Road , with the total number of lanes for vehicles reaching 48.



The Orange Island Bridge, originally called "Xiang River No. 1 Bridge", stretches over Orange Island and was the first Xiang River bridge in Changsha. Nowadays it is still the main east-west traffic artery in Changsha. [Photo/ Li Feng]

"No matter which channel you choose, the river can basically be crossed within five minutes", said Xiao Sheng, a local resident. There is a channel connecting with the other side of the river almost every 3 km. People have more choices for living, working, or even a friends gathering. Xiao is fond of the living environment along the west bank, but hesitated previously over traffic concerns. Last year, however, he purchased a new house near beautiful Yanghu Wetland the moment after Xiangfu Road Bridge was opened to traffic.

These channels not only bring faster traffic. Regional values on both sides have accordingly been stepped up. For a long time, inconvenient traffic placed restrictions over the development of the Yanghuyuan area. After Xiangfu Road Bridge was open to traffic, it is a few minutes' ride from Yanghuyuan to Nancheng, the CBD of the city. "At that time, none of my family members supported my idea of buying a house here because of the discomfort of the traffic. But now I have been praised for my foresight," said He Xiang, who bought property in Yanghuyuan years ago and is now very satisfied with his early investment.

According to an expert from the municipal research institute of planning and survey design, there will be 19 channels across the Xiang River by 2020, which is part of the overall transport planning of Changsha. Besides the 10 existing channels, there are 9 channels for the river crossing from north to south that are either under construction or in the planning stage.



With the smooth progress of phase III of the project, the Dam Crest Highway of Changsha Xiang River Integrated Transport Hub (Huangqiao Avenue Bridge) is taking shape. A tunnel will be newly added at the Changsha section of the Xiang River. [Photo/ Li Feng]
Specifically, by 2020 there will be seven channels for the river crossing within the core area of the main urban region (from Yinpenling Bridge to Nanhu Road Tunnel) at an average interval of 1100m; 11 channels for river crossing within the main urban area (from Suyuyuan to the South 3rd Ring Road) at an average interval of 1700m; and 14 within the urban area at the average interval of 2700m.

Edited by Zhang Qiong and Brian Salter
Source: Changsha Evening News