Over the past 30 years, Xu Gongyi was the chief engineer in more than 50 bridge projects, including the Shantou Bay Bridge, Chinese first modern suspension bridge. He also designed the Xiling Yangtze River Bridge, which crossed the Yangtze River for the first time and provided an essential transport route after the Three Gorges Dam was built.
In addition, he resumed research on steel plate-stiffened girder constructions for bridges, which were banned for 60 years after the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed in high winds. His research allowed this type of construction to be restarted. He also broke world records in his design of the Wufeng Mountain high-speed railway and highway suspension bridge, and the Yangsi Port double-deck highway suspension bridge.
Xu Gongyi graduated from the School of Civil Engineering at Southwest Jiaotong University in 1984. He is considered a pioneer in the development of suspension bridge technology in China, and is an expert in long-span cable-stay bridge and double-deck highway bridge technology. In 2015, he was the first engineer from China to be given an outstanding achievement award by the Institute of Civil Engineers.
The John A. Roebling Medal, the highest individual award in bridge engineering is awarded to engineers who have made a lifetime contribution to bridge engineering.