Chinese workers are constructing an impressive railroad bridge in an area that has been considered a ‘no-go zone’ for bridge builders.
The £1.2 billion Pingtan Strait Railroad Bridge spans across the extremely rough sea off the coast of south-east China, a region that has apparently seen the mysterious disappearances of many jets and boats and is dubbed the ‘Bermuda Triangle of Asia’.
Chinese engineers, who started on the project in 2013, are confident that they could complete the colossal traffic link next year. And not only that, they have planned to run high-speed trains above the notoriously choppy waters.
Mission impossible: Chinese workers are building a high-speed railway bridge (pictured) off the coast of south-east China, which is a ‘no-go zone’ for bridge builders due to high winds
Monster machines: China has built a team of impressive drillships and cranes for the bridge. One of then, the ‘Bridge Seagull’ crane vessel, is pictured lifting a 1,350-tonne steel beam
The mammoth Pingtan Strait Railroad Bridge connects Pingtan Island and its nearby islets to the mainland of Fujian Province.
The marvelous engineer feat is a project of superlatives.
As stated by stats provided by Chinese state media, the two-level structure is a whopping 11 kilometres long (6.8 miles) – 45 times longer than the Tower Bridge in London, or six times longer than the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.
To build the entire bridge, workers will need to use 300,000 tonnes of steel and 2,660,000 cement – enough for building eight Burj Khalifa towers in Dubai, the world’s tallest skyscraper.
Set to have an eight-lane highway on the top and a high-speed railway at the bottom, the two-level structure would be the first railroad bridge in China built over the sea and is designed to support bullet trains travelling as fast as 200/kmh (124/mph).
The construction conditions, however, are unprecedentedly challenging.
Impressive traffic link: Once the Pingtan bridge is complete in 2019, the Pingtan Island and the outlying islands would be connected to the mainland of Fujian Province via high-speed railway
Fan Lilong, the chief engineer of the bridge, told China Central Television Station that Pingtan bridge was the most challenging project he had undertaken in his 20 years of experience
The Pingtan strait, a part of Taiwan Strait, is infamous for its high winds. For more than 300 days a year, strong gusts blowing as quickly as 13.8 metres per second (30 miles per hour) create towering waves as tall as 10 storeys.
The underwater drilling machines will have to withstand immense pressure up to 87 tonnes created by the ocean currents.
Fan Lilong, the chief engineer of the bridge, told China Central Television Station that Pingtan bridge was the most challenging project he had undertaken in his 20 years of experience.
Mr Fan said: ‘Pingtan Strait Railroad Bridge is the most difficult railroad bridge that is being built in the entire world.’
He stated.drilling pillars into the sea rock was the hardest of all.
‘I was trying to think of a solution even when I was dreaming. It seemed impossible – like putting a nail into a stone.’
Apparently, the stretch of water is also extremely dangerous.
The disappearance of 85 ships in the area in 2016 sparked speculation that the waters off southern China, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines could be a new Bermuda Triangle
Chief engineer Mr Fan stated.the most challenging part of the project was to drill pillars into the hard rock on the seabed under immense underwater pressure created by the ocean currents
This picture taken in 2015 shows one of the drillships putting a pillar into the seabed. The workers successfully laid the foundation of the bridge last November with 1,895 pillars
Not far from the bridge are Penghu Islands, a Taiwanese archipelago which sparked the Bermuda horror in 2008 after multiple commercial and military aircraft had mysteriously crashed, stated.an earlier report.
After 85 freight and passenger ships went missing in a small stretch near China in 2016, theories emerged suggesting the waters off southern China, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines could be a new Bermuda Triangle, according to express.co.uk.
Despite all, the Chinese are determined to tame the tempests.
In order to conquer the impossible maritime conditions, Chinese engineers designed a team of monster bridge-building machines for workers to construct the Pingtan bridge.
The Pingtan strait, a part of Taiwan Strait, is infamous for its high winds. For more than 300 days a year, strong gusts blowing as quickly as 13.8m/s create waves as tall as 10 storeys
When the bridge complete next year, bullet trains would be able to whiz above the choppy waters, bringing residents of the remote islands to the mainland of Fujian Province (file photo)
They include ‘Sea Power 801’, a powerful drillship that could drill into hard seabed with precision; ‘Bridge Seagull’, a crane vessel that could lift up a maximum load of 3,600 tonnes – or seven elephants; as well as tower cranes that could resistant tornados.
Commenting on his incredible fleet of equipment, a proud Mr Fan said: ‘All of the machines are made in China. Nowadays, as long as we want, we could build any kind of machines.’
Last November, Chinese state media announced that they successfully laid the foundation of Pingtan bridge – after drilling 1,895 pillars into the ocean.
Pingtan bridge is a part of the £2.6 million Fuping Railway Line, a new member of China’s fast-growing railway network that covers 88 kilometres (54 miles).
In the past 20 years, the length of China’s railway lines has nearly doubled, growing from 66,000 kilometres (41,000 miles) to 127,000 kilometres (78 miles).
China is also the country with the most railway bridges in the world.
The country’s workers have built over 60,000 railway bridges.