DISCUSSION FORUM China's leading mega-project status Jul 2011
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
- As China celebrates the 90th anniversary of its ruling Communist Party, the country's extraordinary development in recent years belies the closed regressive isolation imposed during most of the Party's governance since 1949. Recently-completed major projects form barely the start of astonishingly ambitious plans for infrastructure development across the country. At the top of the list are three projects opened yesterday, June 30, 2011.
Fig 1. China's high-speed railway infrastructure aspirations
- The first of these the 1,318km long high-speed railway linking Beijing and Shanghai was opened by Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday. Built at a cost of 215 billion Yuan (about US$33 billion or €23 billion), the line has limited underground sections with 22 tunnels totalling 16km. It also boasts 244 bridges including the two longest in the world the 164km long Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge and the 113km long viaduct bridge between Langfang and Qingxian . The journey from the nation's capital city to its commercial capital takes just under five hours travelling at an average 300km/hr.
- The line is one of a network of high-speed rail lines that spanned 8,358km at the end of 2010. The national government plans to expand that network to more than 13,000km by end of 2012, and to more than 16,000km by 2020 (Fig 1).
Also opened yesterday were two major highway projects in the city of Qingdoa, south-east of Beijing in Shandong Province. The world's longest sea-crossing bridge and third longest sub-sea highway tunnel were opened to provide traffic links across Jiaozhou Bay. Both are monuments to the technical and construction skills of Chinese engineers and contractors.
- Together they form part of another impressive plan to expand express highways across China. The total length of expressways at the end of 2010 was 74,000km second only to the United States. Nearly 10,000km of this was added in 2010 alone.
Fig 2. China's national expressway
- The network to date includes many challenging long and shorter distance TBM and drill+blast tunnels. Many more are to be built as part of the 85,000km of expressways due to be completed by 2035 and which will connect cities with populations of more than 200,000 (Fig 2).
- Valuable experience gained to date will arm engineers and contractors with the necessary skills to achieve the ambitious plans as well as catapulting China into a world-leading position at the forefront of infrastructure planning, design, and construction. As He Huawu, Chief Engineer of the Chinese Railway Ministry, said at the opening of the Beijing Shanghai high-speed railways line yesterday: "Countries that are currently building high-speed railway can draw on the experience of China, such as its standards, construction ability and integration methods."
- Subsea highway inauguration in China - TunnelTalk, June 2011
China's mega sea link moves forward - TunnelTalk, June 2011
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