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From prefab concrete to the longest bridge in the world

An incredible 164.8 kilometers long: the massive Danyang-Kunshan bridge

For some time, China has clearly been on the hunt for records when it comes to building “wonders of the world.” It is hardly surprising that the title for longest bridge in the world goes to China. The railway viaduct of the “Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge” is an unbelievable 164.8 kilometers long. Let’s take a look at this impressive record-breaking project, its special construction and its significance to the transportation sector.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge may impress with its stilt-like pillars rising up from the ocean, artificially built islands and tunnels cutting across a gigantic bay, while the Padma bridge spans the delta of one of Asia's largest rivers. But when it comes to pure length, there is one clear winner. The Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge (simplified Chinese: 丹昆特大桥; traditional Chinese: 丹昆特大橋, pinyin “Dān-Kūn tè dà qiáo”) is located in Kunshan, a county-level city in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu. Kunshan is home to a population of 1.65 million and has grown by over a million people since the end of 2004. For centuries, the city has been considered an important cultural center, where key developments in literature, opera and painting have played out. It is also famous for its location along important transportation routes. 

Rails are the key mode of transport

The city is located on the Beijing-Shanghai Expressway, but its connection to the railway line running between those two metropolitan areas is of much greater significance. Built already during the last century, this line quickly became notoriously overloaded. The route is also known under the name of Jinghu railroad and extends for 1,462 kilometers as it connects the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. The name Jinghu is a word created from the abbreviated names of the two end points. In Chinese, Jing means “capital city” and refers to Beijing, while “Hu” is the short name for Shanghai.
The railway line is the main connection between Beijing and Shanghai. Together with the parallel high-speed line, it makes up one of the most heavily traveled railway corridors in the country. Both connections feature two tracks and are electrified over the full distance.

Bridge or “elevated viaduct?”

The bridge was conceived as a 164.8-kilometer-long prestressed concrete beam bridge and was executed in an elevated form. In the final analysis, the bridge does not span a deep gorge or a raging river and can be viewed as a “classic” railway viaduct. It is largely constructed from prefab elements and runs primarily over land, except at Suzhou, where it crosses parts of Yangcheng Lake. Another unique feature: the bridge even has its own train stations: Danyang North, Changzhou North, Wuxi East, Suzhou North and Kunshan South.
The individual elements consist of 32-meter-long box girders as well as some longer components for crossing roads, other rail lines or bodies of water. The record-breaking construction project cost 8.5 billion US dollars and pushed the previous number 1, the similar “Changhua-Kaohsiung Viaduct” in Taiwan (157.31 kilometers long) into second place.

Construction style with many advantages

At first glance, the construction costs of 8.5 billion may seem astronomical, but a “conventional” construction would have cost even more. This is because the chosen method has other advantages as well: it allows for very quick and efficient construction while also reducing the required footprint.
The high-speed line was therefore moved onto a bridge to take up less land in this densely populated region as well as to reduce the construction time. In contrast to a “ground-based” railway line, the bridge requires only 27 acres (10.9 hectares) of land instead of 70 (28.4 hectares). In other words, it’s a relatively sustainable solution with regard to land use. The use of uniform prefabricated parts further reduced the required planning work and allowed for streamlined construction methods.

The construction period lasted just four years, with over ten thousand people working on the site at times. The first of over two thousand pillars was cast in spring of 2008. The box girders were fabricated in four specially built production plants along the route and moved from there onto the pillars by a special crane. At times, each of these production plants was producing more than two girders per day. The last beam was put in place in May 2009, and the track laying work was finished already in November 2010.

China has once again demonstrated its expertise in the area of high-speed rail and will certainly continue to grab our attention with impressive projects in the future.

New warehouse in Kunshan

We are delighted to share with you our new chapter in developing Contract Logistics and Warehousing services in China. The new high standard facility with 5,300 square meters of warehouse space has been established in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province.

It is a multi-customer warehouse with 3,800 pallet slots, over 1,000 square meters of ground storage area and a small parts shelving area. The warehouse is located in Kunshan, the main hub of the region, very close to Shanghai and only a 10-minute drive away from the Beijing-Shanghai Expressway. cargo-partner provides warehousing, distribution, e-commerce and various value-added services, aligned with the company’s growth strategy.

Have you taken a tour at our Kunshan warehouse yet? Follow the link to take a virtual tour: https://www.720yun.com/vr/3672e9p8y4s