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Excited builders join canyon bridge project

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-15 10:13

Builders work on the construction site of the Huajiang Grand Canyon Bridge on March 27. YANG WENBIN/XINHUA

GUIYANG — Wang Songyu climbs onto the catwalk at least once a day to check on the supporting conditions of cables — an important procedure for building a suspension bridge.

He used to walk on the catwalk timidly and cautiously, but he has adapted to working at the site high above the ground and now makes big, confident strides.

With a designed height of 625 meters between the bridge deck and the Beipan River below — about as tall as two stacked Eiffel Towers — the 2,890-meter-long Huajiang Grand Canyon Bridge in Southwest China's Guizhou province will be the highest in the world when it is completed in 2025.

Wang, 31, works as a deputy project manager at the Guizhou Bridge Construction Group, which is building the upper structure of the steel girder suspension bridge.

Since the project started in 2022, numerous engineers and workers have joined the construction project in the hinterland, including younger people such as Wang.

For Wang, it's the first time he's taken part in the construction of a steel girder suspension bridge, and it's also his first time serving as a manager.

To prepare for the task, he studied techniques, visited similar bridges across the province and traveled to the construction site frequently.

His sun-tanned skin makes him look older than he is.

Despite the harsh working conditions, Wang is passionate about the bridge project.

He said the previous projects he worked on were always in remote mountainous areas with poor infrastructure.

He was touched by the enthusiasm and honesty of the people in those areas, who helped him navigate the landscape and invited him to their homes for meals.

"It's my great honor to build roads and bridges for the benefit of the people," said Wang, adding that he had a strong sense of fulfillment once the roads or bridges he worked on opened to traffic.

After the Huajiang Grand Canyon Bridge is put into operation, the time it takes to cross the canyon will be reduced from approximately 70 minutes to just about a minute by car.

According to Liu Hao, the project's chief engineer, of the 45 engineers from the Guizhou Bridge Construction Group, 32 are under age 35.

"Filled with curiosity and passion, young people tend to embrace new things more easily without being affected by experiences. They also have a strong capability to learn," Liu said.

Ouyang Song, 29, returned to work in his hometown of Guizhou after graduating from Shanghai's Tongji University at age 22. He now heads the engineering section of the project.

Ouyang said that most of his team members were born after 1990. They cooperate very well and solve problems together.

With 92.5 percent of its land covered by mountains and hills, Guizhou has built nearly 30,000 bridges since the late 1970s and is now home to nearly half the world's 100 tallest bridges.

In January, a team of engineers who built bridges in Guizhou was awarded the National Engineer Award for its outstanding contributions to engineering technology.

"Guizhou boasts lots of bridges, which have brought me opportunities and challenges," Ouyang said.


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