The insane new £3.8bn bridge in incredible city so big it breaks 10 world records

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul2,2024

China has opened its latest incredible bridge project, so large that it holds 10 world records and dramatically reduces travel time by about an hour and a half. 

The nearly 15-mile passage begins at the Shenzhen airport interchange and connects with Ma’anshan Island in Zhongshan across the Pearl River (PRD) in southern China.

It is set to cut travel time between the two cities of Shenzhen and Zhongshan from two hours to under 30 minutes. The idea of a separate link to connect the cities was originally proposed in 2008, but was shelved for several years amid concerns it could jeopardise the success of a bridge between Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau.

Construction on the £3.8million project began in 2017 and finished this year before opening to the public on Sunday, June 30.

The mega-project consists of one underwater tunnel, numerous bridges and two artificial islands, making it one of the most difficult cross-sea cluster projects in the world, according to CGTN. There are four lanes in each direction, with a maximum speed of about 62 mph. It also holds a staggering 10 world records. 

The Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link has been labelled as the “transportation backbone” of the area and is the core transportation project in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The link is a key part of the G2518 national expressway network, located over 16 miles downriver from the Humen Bridge, which was the only bridge crossing of the estuary until Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link opened, and almost 20 miles from the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge at the southern end of the PRD.

Alongside the existing structures, the link will form a network of cross-sea and cross-river passages in the Greater Bay Area, boosting connectivity in the city cluster, said Deng Xiaohua, head of Guangdong Provincial Communications Group.

The link holds 10 world records

With a span of 1,666 metres, the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge has the world’s largest span for a fully offshore steel box girder suspension bridge, the world’s highest bridge deck – at 91 metres – and the highest navigation clearance for a sea bridge. 

The bridge is also the world’ largest offshore suspension bridge anchor, with a single anchor’s concrete volume measuring approximately 344,000 cubic metres. It also boasts the highest wind resistance test speed for a suspension bridge, with a maximum flutter test wind speed of 83.7 metres per second.

Finally, the bridge also has the world’s largest steel bridge deck with hot-mix epoxy asphalt paving, covering an area of 378,800 square metres.  

The Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link’s 4.2-mile undersea tunnel is the world’s longest two-way, eight-lane immersed tube tunnel, spanning 5,035 metres and consisting of 32 tube sections and one final joint. It is also the world’s widest underwater steel shell-concrete immersed tube tunnel, with a standard tube section length of 165 metres, a width of 46 metres – 55.6 metres at its widest point – and a height of 10.6 metres.

In addition to all of this, the tunnel also boasts the world’s largest single-volume cast for a steel-shell immersed tube using self-compacting concrete as single tube section concrete volume reaching 29,00 cubic metres, totalling 910,000 cubic metres.

It is the world’s first underwater expressway interchange and airport interchange, and, with a width of three metres, the tunnel is the world’s widest repeatedly foldable M-shaped water stop used in the final joint of an immersed tube tunnel.

The tunnel is equipped with several intelligent devices to ensure a safe and stable operation, including 14 robots, dual-wavelength flame detectors and Beidou satellite navigation signal simulators. The 3.1-mile central pipe gallery is home to over 10,000 sets of equipment and the robots regularly patrol prescribed routes along the emergency exit and cable channel to monitor operation and the environment. 

In the event of an accident, they can simultaneously direct traffic with built-in loudspeakers, film the scene and transmit the image to the remote control centre in real time. The tunnel can also change colour based on temperature and traffic conditions. Brightness levels can be adjusted so that the drive is safe and comfortable. In emergencies, the light strips turn red. 

“We are the first to invent a horizontal smoke exhaust pipe system at the top of the immersed tube undersea tunnel, which improves the smoke exhaust efficiency by 42 percent,”  Ma Ershun, deputy director of the link’s management centre, told China Media Group. “We have also established a new firefighting and smoke exhaust technology system for ultra-wide and interchangeable undersea tunnels, effectively ensuring safe fire evacuations.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *