College skybridges make winter commute comfortable | Updated: 2023-11-08 15:37
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Cold temperatures, biting wind, heavy snow and slippery roads are the common challenges that trouble or even interrupt winter commutes. However, for students and faculty at a college in Northeast China, who have been severely affected by the recent cold wave and blizzard, their commute has been made easy, warm and safe thanks to the newly built skywalks on campus.

In the northeastern region, students have been sharing their challenging experiences of walking to classrooms, cafeterias, dormitories, and other school facilities in snowy weather on social media. This has created an online sensation, as the region has been grappling with the first cold wave of the winter season since Nov 5, which still lingers, causing a temperature drop of 6 to 8 degrees Celsius and snow accumulation of over 30 centimeters in some areas.

Some online videos depict students wearing thick coats struggling against strong winds, and even falling heavily on their way. In some instances, students have resorted to skiing to reach their classes.

A student tastes ice cream while taking pictures of snow scenery on the sky bridge of the Harbin Institute of Technology. [Photo/official WeChat account of Harbin Institute of Technology]

In stark contrast, students at Harbin Institute of Technology in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, have experienced an entirely different scenario.

They comfortably move between classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, dormitories, and the gym in short sleeves through the skywalks, all within a 5-minute walk. Some students have even been spotted enjoying ice cream while admiring the snowy scenery along the pathways.

Praise and admiration have poured in for the usefulness of the sky bridges and the thoughtfulness of the college. One comment reads, "Blizzard alert? Don't worry. The skywalks take good care of me." Another said, "Thanks for the skywalks, now I can wear light clothes even in below-zero temperatures."

Students walk on the sky bridge at the Harbin Institute of Technology in snowy weather in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province. [Photo/official WeChat account of Harbin Institute of Technology]

The university launched the construction of the sky bridges on campus in 2022, aiming to effectively mitigate the impact of extreme weather on campus life and enhance convenience for both faculty and students.

With a total length of 1,330.13 meters, the sky bridges are built in three phases. On Nov 7, the second phase of the walkway system was fully operational and open for trial use. Currently, 881.81 meters of skywalks are accessible.

In addition to connecting various school facilities, the sky bridges as the school's new landmark will serve various functions in the future. Some sections will be equipped with power outlets, LED lighting, network interfaces, WiFi and even fitness equipment to offer more spaces for study, relaxation, activities and workouts.

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