The Great Seto Bridge, or Seto-Ohashi Bridge, is a series of two-tier bridges connecting Honshu the mainland of Japan; with the fourth biggest island Shikoku of the archipelago, in the Seto Inland Sea. You may see this in the map and photographs below and you must certainly see the video at the bottom of this article to appreciate this engineering marvel:
The Great Seto Bridge is actually the collective name of the six bridges that link Honshu and Shikoku or to be more precise the prefectures of Okayama and Kagawa, using five small islands as stepping stones. The construction of the bridge took ten years and the bridge was opened to traffic on 10th April 1988. The bridge system is 13.1 Kms. that is 8.1 miles long. The upper deck is for cars and the lower deck is for trains as you can see in the video at the bottom of this post. And this is the longest double-decked or two tiered bridge system in the world. It takes 20 minutes to travel by Car or Train from one end to the other. Prior to the construction of the bridge, people travelled by ferry service which took little over an hour with lot of waiting time to catch a ferry and at very high cost.
As mentioned above the bridge system is made up of six continuous double-decked bridges, three suspension bridges, two cable-stayed bridges, and one truss bridge. Each of these bridges has a separate name and some of them also hold world records. These six bridges from Honshu in the North to Shikoku in the South are as follows: Shimotsui-Seto Bridge, Hitsuishijima Bridge, Iwakurojima Bridge, Yoshima Bridge, Kita Bisan-Seto Bridge and Minami Bisan-Seto Bridge. Of these, three bridges figure in the list of world’s longest suspension bridges. Minami Bisan-Seto Bridge with a centre span of 1,100 metres and a total length of 1,648 metres is the 13th longest suspension bridge span in the world. Kita Bisan-Seto Bridge with total length of 1,538 metres is the 19th largest suspension bridge in the world. And the Minami Bisan-Seto Bridge with a total length of 1,400 metres is the 22nd largest suspension bridge in the world.
I travelled the entire length of the bridge from the mainland to Shikoku to and fro by Car with brief stops on the intermittent islands too and enjoyed the visit. It is an engineering marvel with a spellbinding view of the huge and long bridge and the vast Sea all around.