Long­est Span Across the Sea

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Edited by Zhou Xin

With a length of 55 kilo­me­ters and a cost of over 100 bil­lion yuan (about US$14.9 bil­lion), the on­go­ing con­struc­tion project of the Hong Kong-zhuhai-macao Bridge has been hailed by The Guardian as one of the “Seven Won­ders of the Mod­ern World.” As a ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture project con­nect­ing Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai, a city in Guang­dong Prov­ince, it is key to the high-speed road net­work across the Pearl River Delta area around the Lingding Chan­nel.

Con­struc­tion of the long­est steel bridge across the sea started in 2009 and is ex­pected to be com­pleted in De­cem­ber 2017. The Lingding Chan­nel is an im­por­tant route for ma­rine trans­porta­tion sur­rounded by a clus­ter of busy air­ports. A bridge across the wa­ter would pose a prob­lem for air and mar­itime trans­porta­tion in this area. So the team came up with the novel plan of a com­bi­na­tion of bridge and un­der­wa­ter tun­nel, an ideal but dif­fi­cult way to solve the prob­lem. Ac­cord­ing to the plan, parts of the project will go above the sea, and other parts be­low.

As de­signed, the bridge should have an an­tic­i­pated life­span of about 120 years. To meet this re­quire­ment, 420,000 tons of steel were used to make the gird­ers. The strong bridge is de­signed to re­sist su­per ty­phoons and earth­quakes of up to mag­ni­tude-8. When com­pleted, the project is ex­pected to re­duce au­to­mo­bile travel time be­tween Hong Kong and Zhuhai or Macao to ap­prox­i­mately 40 min­utes, down from 4.5 hours at present.

The con­struc­tion team has over­come many prob­lems, in­clud­ing the com­plex­ity of the seabed, harsh en­vi­ron­ment and the in­cred­i­ble length. The con­struc­tion team headed by Lin Ming, gen­eral man­ager and chief en­gi­neer of the project, has forged ahead to solve emerg­ing prob­lems and make the mega bridge the high­est qual­ity the world has ever seen. Lin and his team held hun­dreds of meet­ings ev­ery year, many of which lasted all night. To save time, he of­ten sched­uled meet­ings dur­ing trips, some­times even at the air­port.

He is con­sid­ered a brave and re­spon­si­ble leader. The un­der­wa­ter sec­tions re­quire work­ers to work as low as 50 me­ters be­low the Pearl River. Even the tini­est mis­take could cause wa­ter to gush into the work site, leav­ing work­ers with nowhere to es­cape, so ev­ery­one was hes­i­tant to start work. Lin solved this prob­lem by sit­ting on a bench at the con­struc­tion site. “The safety of the work site had been proved sev­eral times by ex­perts,” he told the work­ers. “I’ll stay with you while you work down here.”

Be­cause build­ing sub­sea tun­nels in open waters is so dif­fi­cult, Lin set strict rules for con­struc­tion. His re­quire­ments for the stan­dards far ex­ceeded do­mes­tic reg­u­la­tions. At any given time, he could usu­ally be found at the con­struc­tion site. Any prob­lems he found were dis­cussed and solved im­me­di­ately. Fur­ther­more, he showed con­sis­tent con­cern for his em­ploy­ees’ well-be­ing. Lin is the only mem­ber of the team who has never taken hol­i­days. He spends ev­ery week­end and fes­ti­val at con­struc­tion sites with work­ers who re­main on duty.

The mag­nif­i­cent bridge, built with Chi­nese wisdom and brav­ery, will fur­ther pro­mote the re­gional econ­omy and make res­i­dents’ lives more con­ve­nient.

by Chen Jimin/vcg

July 7, 2017: Both sides of the sub­sea tun­nel of the Hong Kong-zhuhai-macao Bridge break through to meet.

by Chen Xianyao/vcg by Chen Jimin/vcg

June 2, 2016: The last steel tower of the Hong Kong-zhuhai-macao Bridge is in­stalled. July 5, 2017: The east­ern artificial is­land of the Hong Kong-zhuhai-macao Bridge project.

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