Utsumi Ohashi Bridge
Utsumi Ohashi, built in 1989, is the huge bridge spanning the sea between
Numakuma-cho (Fukuyama City) and Tashima Island in Utsumi-cho (Fukuyama
City). The bridge is 832 meters in length and 7.5 meters in width, and has two
lanes. It has a gentle curve in its central span, which is about 30 meters above the
sea. The elegant bridge is harmoniously situated in the surrounding landscape.
The entrance section on the Numakuma side is adorned with wisteria trellises,
which are associated with the legend of a 1000-year-old wisteria. On the
Utsumi-cho side, the entrance section is lined with rows of Washington palms.
Furthermore, in order not to spoil the view, a Nielsen-Lohse girder, a form of
arch-style girder, is employed over some sections of the bridge, with the
suspension wires neatly networked in diamond shapes. The bridge commands
a spectacular view combining the sea, islands and sky.
Utsumi Ohashi Bridge over the sea with its graceful curves (Photograph taken circa 1994)
A monolith in the sea was used as an abutment in the construction of the bridge. On the Numakuma side, a pier was built over the site of a historic guardhouse. Shikina is an old port, which is referred to even in Heike Monogatari, or The Tale of Heike (early 13th century literature). It is said that Emperor Takakura admired the wisteria there, which gave rise to the legend of the 1000-year-old wisteria. A guardhouse was established in the medieval era to regulate marine traffic. After the bridge was opened for traffic, the site of the guardhouse was furnished with inscribed monuments to serve as a small park.