China has completed the construction of the $1.61bn (CNY11bn) Tianxingzhou Bridge on the Yangtze River in the city of Wuhan.

The 4,657m-long and 30m-wide cable suspension bridge, claimed to be the world’s first bridge with four rail lines, connects the Beijing-Guangzhou Passenger Line and the Shanghai-Wuhan-Chengdu Railway express passageway.

The bridge has been built to high-speed railway operation standards, with the capacity for trains to pass over at a speed of up to 200kmph.

The bridge spans 504m over water, has a load capacity of 20,000t and a permissible train speed of 250kmph.

Chief engineer Qin Shunquan said the bridge is significant as the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge is 52 years old and cannot meet the high-speed standard at present.

“The second reason is that Wuhan is the only way for trains [to travel] from Shanghai to Chengdu; the bridge helps to ease the load burden [due to] its perfect location,” Shunquan said.

The builders also claim the bridge to be the biggest and widest highway-railway bridge in the world as it incorporates six traffic lanes.

The bridge is expected to be a key part of China’s rail network, making Wuhan a key rail transport hub after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.