Bridge to open islands up to new opportunities
The construction of the Liuheng Expressway Bridge, a major transportation project of Ningbo Zhoushan Port, promises a bright future for the people living and working on Liuheng Island in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province.
Construction of the second phase of the bridge started on Nov 2, and Li Yuhua, a resident of Liuheng, was excited.
"The ferry is the only means of transportation for us to travel to Ningbo at present," said Li. "It is time-consuming and it is even more troublesome if there is an emergency because the service is not available at night or during severe storms. But things will change after the completion of the bridge. It's a great thing for us."
The construction of the Liuheng Expressway Bridge is divided into two phases. The first phase — mainly roads and connecting lines to Ningbo — started in 2021.
The second phase is a large sea-crossing project that spans 18.78 kilometers and will connect Liuheng, Fodu islands in Zhoushan and Meishan Island in Ningbo by several bridges, including two mega bridges — Shuangyumen Bridge and Qinglongmen Bridge.
Construction of the second phase will involve a total investment of 13.28 billion yuan ($1.81 billion) and take 57 months to complete.
With a designed speed of 100 kilometers per hour, the new line will cut travel time between Liuheng and Ningbo to 30 minutes.
For Wang Wei, director of the Liuheng Branch of Putuo Hospital, better transportation will bring high-quality medical services to locals.
"It used to be hard for us to transport patients in severe or critical condition to hospitals outside the island in bad weather, such as in severe winds and heavy fog," said Wang. "Our work will be more efficient after the bridge is built."
Gan Junfu is the director of a fruit cooperative in Ganyan village, which is located at the exit of the expressway bridge. The construction of the bridge will help him tap into new business opportunities.
Gan, who is busy making plans to develop a farm homestay business, believes the bridge will attract more visitors to the village after it opens to traffic.
Liuheng Island has been developing the hydrogen energy business in recent years, and energy companies on the island are also bullish about their future.
"Currently, we transport hydrogen fuel by ship," said Chen Yuhao, general manager of State Fuel Cell (Zhoushan Liuheng) Technology Co. "In the future, we can choose land transportation to reduce costs."
Upon completion, the new line will notch up two world records.
Shuangyumen Bridge, with a main span of 1,768 meters, will be a record for the span of a sea-crossing bridge in China as well as for a single-span steel box girder suspension bridge in the world.
With a span of 756 meters, Qinglongmen Bridge, linking Fodu and Meishan islands, is expected to be the largest steel box girder cable-stayed bridge with three towers in the world.
Yu Yin in Ningbo contributed to this story.