There are so many famous bridges in the world. The Waibaidu Bridge is one of these since it is the first steel bridge in Shanghai. The Waibaidu Bridge spans the Suzhou Creek. The westerners call it “wedding picture taking bridge” because of the many photos taken with the bridge’s unique look in the background.
In the early 1850’s, there was no bridge across the Suzhou Creek. In 1856, a British businessman, Wills, built the first bridge that covered Suzhou Creek and named it Wills Bridge. It was a wooden bridge that spanned 120 meters. Once this bridge was completed, only Chinese people were charged for crossing. To fight against the discrimination, some Chinese merchants built a floating bridge close by the Wills Bridge that was free for everyone. This seriously impacted the business of Wills Bridge, so Wills had to sell his bridge.
In 1906, the Municipal Government planned to build a new bridge to span the Suzhou Creek. So, both the Wills Bridge and the floating bridge were taken down to make way for a new bridge. This new giant bridge became the first steel bridge in Shanghai and was called Waibaidu Bridge, meaning free bridge. Foreigners called it “Garden Bridge” because the bridge was very close to the Public Garden, now called HuangPu Park. The bridge is 60 feet wide and is a vital link for the North to South traffic system of the city. The bridge underwent a thorough repair as part of preparation for the 2010 World Expo.
The Waibaidu Bridge became broadly known after gaining attention in movies such as Shanghai Tan. I hope you enjoy traveling on this unique bridge.