Tasmanian Devil makes light work of eighth wonder

14.08.37: TASMANIA'S LONG ISOLATION from Australia finally ended today with the opening of the 217km Van Diemen Bridge.

At the halfway mark, high above the turquoise waters of the Bass Strait, Tasmanian dignitaries shared a can of beer with their counterparts from the state of Victoria.

"It was one Tasmanian devil of a job to build," joked Bob Harris, the governor of Victoria.

"But now it's done, Australians can be rightfully proud to have the eighth wonder of the world on their doorstep."

The Van Diemen Bridge is the world's longest suspension bridge, with a central span of 11,265m. Its construction would have been impossible without the use of microscopic carbon nanotubes.

The tubes, which are thousands of times thinner than a human hair and made of pure carbon, can be twisted together to make a cable 100 times stronger than steel and one-sixtieth of the weight.

"With this kind of material we can now build on a scale that makes even the Pyramids at Giza seem like children's toys," said Brunel Fuller, the chief designer on the Van Diemen Bridge project. MC