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China’s record-breaking 11 kilometre underwater highway will open this year

Tim Gibson

05 April 2021

THIRD HARBOUR Engineering has announced that it will complete China’s longest and widest underwater highway.

At 43.6 metres-wide and 11 kilometres long, the tunnel began construction in January 2018 under Lake Taihu, China’s third largest freshwater lake, just outside of Shanghai.

The lake supplies water to more than 30 million people but has experienced severe pollution for more than 40 years.

The provincial government has long campaigned to end the dumping of sewage, garbage, and industrial and animal waste, which has caused blooms of poisonous algae.

As a result, environmental sustainability was a key part of the tunnel’s brief.

The tunnel was built using cofferdams that were emptied of water, pumped, excavated and backfilled in sections to “protect the ecological environment of the lake as much as possible” the company wrote in a press release.

The project has also used automatic steel processing equipment and intelligent systems that ensures “zero discharge of sewage and dust” into the lake, project head Yang Guodon told the Chinese press.

All that remains are concrete pours and for facilities to be built on an island in the middle of the lake.

The project is part of a USD $2.4B 44 kilometre-long new highway that will stretch across Jiangsu Province and will link the city of Wuxi, on the north shore of the lake, with Changzhou.

The tunnel joins a long list of record-breaking infrastructure projects in China including the world’s longest undersea rail tunnel between the city of Ningbo and the island of Zhoushan, 60km south of Shanghai, and the world’s longest high-speed rail line linking the cities of Beijing Guangzhou.

China is continuing to invest in large-scale infrastructure during the current global economic crisis, as it did in 2008.

A number of other countries are following this approach, hoping to create jobs and boost economies.

United States President Joe Biden recently announced a USD $2T plan to overhaul the country’s infrastructure.


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