A gigantic steel arch has been put into place over the Nujiang River in southwestern China’s Yunnan province, and before the end of 2019 bullet trains will cross the world’s longest arched railway bridge at speeds of 200 kph.

The bridge, being built by state-owned China Railway Construction Corp, consists of a span of 490 meters that breaks all world records for a crossing of its type. The key project straddles a steep gorge that has long stood in the way of traffic between Yunnan and neighboring Guizhou province.

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The span of the arched bridge for the China-Myanmar rail corridor is almost 500 meters long. Photo: Xinhua

“The bridge is a genuine engineering feat as it is situated on the rugged Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau in a seismically insatiable [earthquake-prone] region,” a  project manager told Xinhua.

To complete the bridge, constructors had to assemble up to 800,000 bolts as well as 922 steel poles weighing 100 tonnes each, at a height of 230 meters above the raging Nujiang River.

The bridge is a key element in the 220-km Dali-Ruili railway, part of the China-Myanmar rail corridor linking Kunming, Yunnan’s capital, to Yangon.