Rainbow Bridge

Construction started in January 1987

When construction began, Rainbow Bridge was not called as the "Rainbow Bridge". It was called the "Tokyo Harbor Connecting Bridge". The "Tokyo Harbor Connecting Bridge" is a part of Route 11 Daiba Line. Route 11 Daiba Line directly links Route 1 Haneda Line and the Bayshore Route. At the time, the route was meant to relieve traffic congestion towards the city center by connecting the city center and the yet-to-be-built Tokyo Waterfront Sub-center. That was not the only function of the Route 11 Daiba Line. It was also meant to provide a place of leisure with new scenery well suited for the new Tokyo Waterfront Sub-center. Finally, construction was started for a bridge that would combine both transit convenience and beautiful scenery.

Tokyo port before construction

Tokyo port before construction
(Line 12 is the current high-speed 11 railroad line)

Before the bridge could be designed

There were lots of debates about what kind of landscape the "Tokyo Harbor Connecting Bridge" should be to become a symbol of the Tokyo Bay. The accepted proposal was chosen from many proposals detailing not just the main tower shape but also the color and Light up style of the bridge itself. For example there were proposals to color the bridge in cherry blossom pink or silver. The engineers strove to create a bridge that would be in harmony with not just the Tokyo Harbor of that era, but also with the future Tokyo Harbor, and even after 20 years since its construction the design of the Rainbow bridge does not show any signs of age and continues to delight many people as a symbol of the Port of Tokyo.

Constructed from 1987 to 1993

Its location near the Port of Tokyo which is pivotal to air, sea, and land transport put various constraints on design and construction methods. For example, on the height of the main tower and shape of the bridge. Being next to Haneda Airport put constraints on the height of the main tower. In addition, the water route had to be wide enough for large ships to pass through the intricate bay interior. After various studies, the form of a suspension bridge was accepted. Constructing the Rainbow Bridge required overcoming these sorts of difficulties and constraints.

  • 1Foundation construction

    Foundation construction

    The main tower foundation was set up using the Pneumatic caisson method.

  • 2Anchorage construction

    Anchorage construction

    The anchorage is a giant block for anchoring the main cable, or suspension bridge's wing.

  • 3Main tower and side tower construction

    Main tower and side tower construction

    Out of aesthetic considerations, the main tower was uniquely built to be inconspicuous on the horizon from the surface of the Metropolitan Expressway up to the uppermost part.

  • 4Cable construction

    Cable construction

    First a passage for work was built, then cables were extended one after another.

  • 5Stiffening girder construction

    Stiffening girder construction

    A temporary spot for the road was built around the two main towers.

  • 6Adjunct facilities

    Adjunct facilities

    Facilities were set up for the lights that would illuminate the Tokyo Harbor and to maintain road safety.

The Godfather of the Rainbow Bridge

The motto written on the pamphlet used to advertise for names for the "Tokyo Harbor Connecting Bridge" was "Be the godfather of a sparkling white bridge apt for Tokyo's entrance to the sea." A total of 20,023 suggestions were received.
The chosen name was then announced in November 1992 before the Rainbow Bridge opened. The Rainbow Bridge is true to its name, combining the ideas of many.

Opened in 1993

Six and a half years after construction began, the Rainbow Bridge finally connected with Route 11 Daiba Line. Its inauguration day on August 26 was unfortunately rainy, but it still had a grand debut on Tokyo Harbor.
The Inner Circular Route and the Bay Shore Route were now also connected from north to south in addition to the one old route, easing the traffic congestion near Hakozaki Junction, and smoothing the connection of the Tokyo Bay Area with the new Haneda Airport and the inner city. Furthermore, the choice of routes to the Tokyo Waterfront Sub-center increased, raising the profile of the area.

Right before inauguration

Right before inauguration