The Lupu Bridge (simplified Chinese: 卢浦大桥; traditional Chinese: 盧浦大橋; pinyin: Lúpǔ Dàqiáo), in Shanghai, China, is the world’s longest arch bridge. The 2.5 billion yuan (US$302 million), 3,900-meter (12,795 ft) bridge was opened on June 28, 2003. Its main span of 550 meters (1,804 ft) over the Huangpu River is 32 meters (105 ft) longer than the previous recordholder, the New River Gorge Bridge in the Fayetteville, West Virginia, United States.
The name of the bridge, Lupu, is an abbreviation of the two districts of Shanghai which it links – Luwan District on the north bank, and Pudong New District on the south bank. This follows the naming convention of the three earlier bridges on the Huangpu River – Nanpu (Nanshi-Pudong), Yangpu (Yangpu-Pudong), and Xupu (Xuhui-Pudong).
During the hearings and evaluations of the construction of the bridge, scholars and experts agreed with the local government in that a bridge was indeed needed for further development, but that was where the similarity ended. The experts have continuously advocated the local government on alternative designs that cost much less and produce the same result, but the local government, under the reign of disgraced mayor Chen Liangyu, decided against the advice to select the current arch bridge design. The reason was simply because for the cheaper alternative bridge designs, there were already such bridges in Shanghai, and the arch bridge design not only provided a first for the city of this design, but also enabled the city to claim a world record for being the longest. Critics point out that such showpiece project is the proof of the city officials’ superficiality, and ignored the real need of the city, causing the city and its residents to pay much more and much longer in the long run to recover the investment cost.
Yao Ming, the Chinese-born NBA basketball player, ran among the first group to cross the bridge during the opening ceremony.
The top of the west tower is open for visitors, with access from ground level by elevator then along and up the north east arch to the viewing platform at the top. Most of the time a guide will accompany you. (And maybe a security guard as well.) From the top you can see the development underway for the expo site on both sides of the river.