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SOEs make infrastructure milestones

By ZHUANG QIANGE | China Daily | Updated: 2023-04-04 08:54
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Employees of China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp Ltd work on a high-speed rail bridge in Jingmen, Hubei province, in March. [Photo/China Daily]

Intensified efforts, intelligent tech bolster projects amid nation's economic recovery

China's infrastructure construction continues to progress at a fast pace amid the nation's overall economic recovery, with State-owned enterprises playing critical roles in several massive and urgent undertakings nationwide.

China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp Ltd (CR24) said its builders have intensified efforts on the construction of the Wuhan-Yichang section of the Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu High-speed Railway.

The SOE — which is building the railway together with other State builders such as China Communications Construction Co Ltd and China Railway Group Ltd — said its construction team has completed cement pouring work and achieved full linkage for a bridge project in Jingmen, Hubei province.

Spanning Aifeike Avenue in the city's Zhanghe district, the bridge is 1,320 meters long and presented a major engineering challenge amid project construction.

CR24 said the team leveraged smart technologies to automate the construction process, such as intelligent tensioning technology, which replaced manual operation with intelligent machine control to improve precision, and large-circulation intelligent pressure grouting technology, which ensures grouting density, prevents rusting of the steel strands and improves the durability of the bridge structure, it added.

The Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu railway spans six provincial-level regions, including Shanghai and Jiangsu, Anhui, Hubei, Chongqing and Sichuan provinces, and is a backbone high-speed railway line of the country's major high-speed railway network.

Upon completion, the project is expected to play a crucial role in promoting development of the Yangtze River-related transportation system and the high-quality development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the China Railway Construction Corp unit said.

Additionally, it will improve the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region, the urban agglomeration in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle, which will boost regional development and improve local livelihoods.

In a separate railway project, CR24 said its builders in Chongqing reported big progress, as its team on a major rail yard in the southwestern Chinese city has completed a signal interlocking upgrade project, paving the way for increased train traffic ahead of its expected completion and commissioning in June.

According to the State contractor, the signal interlocking upgrade project at Xinglongchang rail yard — one of the largest rail yards in the region — was completed on Thursday ahead of schedule, with construction time spanning merely three hours to avoid disruption of normal rail operations.

Located in Xinglongchang township connected by the Xiangyang-Chongqing Railway, the rail yard covers over 3.47 square kilometers and manages 78 tracks.

The yard adopts several solutions solely developed by China, such as its integrated control system, among other cutting-edge technologies.

As the "heart" of Chongqing's rail hub, which is responsible for freight train operations, the Xinglongchang rail yard handles the task of disassembling and assembling multiple domestic and international freight trains, serving as the freight train collection center in the Southwest China region, said CR24.

The upgraded rail yard is expected to handle over 20,000 trains daily, with an estimated 10 percent increase in the total number of trains, making it the largest rail yard in the region.

Breakthroughs were also reported in non-rail projects by State builders. Power Construction Corp of China, or PowerChina, said its windmills using the largest turbines for mountainous regions started operating recently and have been connected to the national grid.

The power giant also said earlier last week that it is working with Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Co Ltd on the building of two offshore turbine platforms in Nantong, Jiangsu province, as part of its green efforts to help the nation achieve its dual-carbon goals.

Highlighting the vital role played by infrastructure in supporting economic growth and mitigating the contraction in consumption last year, this year's Government Work Report said that in 2022, infrastructure investment increased by 9.4 percent, while fixed-asset investment increased by 5.1 percent. The length of in-service high-speed railways increased from 25,000 kilometers to 42,000 km and the expressway network expanded from 136,000 km to 177,000 km.

"It's beneficial both to expanding domestic demand and facilitating cross-border trade to make intensified efforts in projects related to the freight train transportation, as such projects are serving not only trade under global cooperative frameworks, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, but also those domestic traders relying heavily on freight services, especially in China's southwestern region," said Zhang Hui, a professor of economics at Peking University, in a research report on infrastructure.

It is still necessary to ensure sufficient inflow into the sector this year, with a focus on infrastructure upgrades and "new infrastructure", and ensure the sector has been given full play by keeping a close watch on the effectiveness of the investment, to make it a better driver in employment and development of other sectors along the industrial chain, said Cai Tongjuan, a researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing.

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