Country's largest and heaviest bridge spanning railway, highway rotated successfully

By Ma Chenguang in Qingyuan, Guangdong province | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-04-02 15:00

A 100-meter-long and 33-meter-wide swivel bridge, the country's largest and heaviest, which spans a major railway and a highway in South China's Guangdong province, was turned to its targeted position early Tuesday after rotating for 70 minutes without affecting the traffic.

The swivel bridge, part of the Shantou-Zhanjiang Expressway, rotated perfectly though it towers as high as 25 stories and is as heavy as 10,000 cars, said Yang Weishuang, an engineering chief at the China Railway No 4 Engineering Group Co Ltd-the company that built it.

The expressway is considered a boost to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which encompasses nine cities in South China's Guangdong, in addition to the two special administrative regions, he said.

The T-shaped swivel bridge, as the No 2 pier complex of the super bridge crossing the Beijiang River, connected the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and the S253 provincial highway perfectly after rotating at an angle of 87 degrees.

After 22 months of construction at a cost of 33 million yuan ($4.9 million), the swivel bridge showed the excellent skills of Chinese builders from China Railway No 4 Engineering Group and is a boost to the full completion of the Huizhou-Qingyuan Section of the Shantou-Zhanjiang Expressway in 2020, Yang said.

China Railway No 4 Engineering Group Information Office director Jiang Longyu said, with a history of 69 years, the group has built 14.6 percent of China's existing 130,000 kilometers of railway lines.

Taking advantage of a 110-minute "dormant period" in traffic on the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway, an on-site construction commander ordered the bridge to slowly rotate clockwise at a speed of 73 centimeters per minute starting at 1:30 am.

While the swivel beam is installed with speed sensors and cameras to monitor and adjust the swivel speed in real time, on-site staff members also monitored the rotation in real time to ensure the swivel accurately fit into its targeted position.

During the construction process, the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway usually has a train running on average every five minutes while the S253 highway also is busy with traffic as an important transportation artery. To reduce interference on the traffic, the bridge uses a rotating body, which was built in parallel with the railway and the highway at open spaces between them.

Prior to the event, the builders built and prepared every item needed, including the bridge's box girder, the ball joint installation and the traction system, for the rotation.

"The principle of the swivel beam is like pushing a grinding disc. We put a turntable on the bridge pier and use the jack to push the bridge to rotate," said Yan Abei, China Railway No 4 Engineering Group's project manager for the 13th Team at the Huizhou-Qingyuan Section of the Shantou-Zhanjiang Expressway.

The Huizhou-Qingyuan Section of the expressway, with a 20.79 billion yuan investment by Guangdong Provincial Transportation Group, runs for 128.3 kilometers and is a key project in the province.

Upon completion, the journey from Huizhou city, which borders the provincial capital of Guangzhou in the east, to Qingyuan city, bordering Guangzhou in the northwest, will be shortened from three hours to 90 minutes.

The expressway will help boost the coordinated development of Guangdong's eastern and western regions, and while Huizhou is part of the Greater Bay Area, it will promote the building of the Greater Bay Area, Yang said.

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