Bridge price skyrockets

Due to unexpected difficulties, the cost of building the under-construction Donghai Bridge could rise by some 3 billion yuan, managers of the project said yesterday, according to Tuesday's Shanghai Daily.

The bridge could end up costing more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) to build, they said.

While the difficulties aren't big enough to push back the scheduled completion date from the end of next year, project managers are gearing up to prevent any potential danger resulting from this year's flood season.

"We are quite ready to face any would-be natural conditions this year, particularly strong typhoons," Chen Hongzhang, chairman of Shanghai No. 2 Municipal Engineering Company, said yesterday.

Yesterday, workers laid the 200th roadway plank for the bridge, meaning that nearly one-third of the bridge's 25-kilometer span has been completed.

Each of the planks is as big as four volleyball courts and constructors vowed to lay the remaining 470 planks by next June.

As the key part of the first phase of the Yangshan Deep-water Port that began in June 2002, the 31-kilometer bridge will link Shanghai to the port, which is located at the mouth of Hangzhou Bay.

With a life expectancy of 100 years, the bridge is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Its roadway above the sea will be connected by some 670 bridge planks.

Engineers said yesterday they are worried about typhoons and tides causing problems in the future.

According to the Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters, some 33 percent more rainfall and 16 more "considerable tides" (each more than four meters above sea level) will hit Shanghai from June to September compared to the same period last year. Additionally, at least two major typhoons will hit the city this summer.

"When the sea became restless, we got into difficulty piling into the sea bottom," Tan Guoshun, deputy general manager of China Zhongtie Major Bridge Engineering Group - one of the leading construction firms, said yesterday in explaining the budget overrun.

To continue the work, he explained, constructing companies had to buy expensive equipment that can counteract unforeseeable natural conditions. So far, they have bought 400 million yuan worth of extra equipment, including a special maritime crane that can hoist 1,600 tons at a time.

Source: Shanghai Daily

People's Daily Online ---