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The second Humen Bridge: A new link across the Pearl River

The Pearl River is China’s second-largest river system.

This is a core region for foreign trade and its various industries make the Pearl River delta a global manufacturing hub.

The Humen Bridge is the only east-west link across the Pearl River, and 20 years after it opened it’s already operating at full capacity.

The need for a new east-west bridge was recognized a decade ago and the Second Humen Bridge is now under construction.

The project involves the construction of a 1,000-meter-long double super suspension bridge – a massive challenge on a scale never before seen in this region.

The main tower will be 260 meters high - around the height of a 90-story building - and it will be China’s highest suspension bridge tower.

The project also includes 10 kilometers of approach roads and two interchanges, adding to its complexity.

In all, eight towers will be built and to finish them on schedule, engineers are using a hydraulic climbing framework. The work platform perched on top of the tower rises as construction proceeds.

On the island where the two bridges will meet, the girders – 50 different types in all – are being cast.

More than 3,500 segments will be made and assembled here. The largest will weigh the same as 120 passenger cars, with five production lines producing an average of seven segments per day.

Completing work within the scheduled three years requires the process to rely on standardization and information technology.

The entire bridge will take a year to complete, but progress at each step is measured in hours. For the engineers, it’s a battle against time to open the bridge to traffic as soon as possible.