The Chongzun Expressway has transformed the way millions of people travel and move goods to market in the Guizhou region, and is the most technically demanding highway engineering project built in China in recent years.
Halcrow has played a vital role in the successful construction of this complex road project, having been appointed as supervising engineer by the Asian Development Bank, which has part-funded the $820 million scheme. The company had a team of 13 people on site at different stages, providing construction supervision for tunnels, bridges, as well as quality assurance, road safety, pavement engineering and electrical and mechanical engineering. We were also responsible for providing social impact and evaluation monitoring, technology transfer and advice on construction management.
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One of Halcrow’s key roles was to provide quality control during construction, and the expressway is now an exemplar of the level of quality that can be achieved on major projects in China.
The 118km long, four-lane, grade separated dual carriageway is an important link in China’s ambitious programme to upgrade its neglected road network in order to promote economic growth. As part of this programme the Chinese government aims to connect every city with a population of 200,000 or more to the national road network.
On its route between Chongxihe and Zunyi the spectacular Chongzun Expressway crosses 121 deep valleys and passes through 17 mountains.
It travels through the dramatic mountainous terrain of the Yungui highlands, famous for complicated geology and topography. At its lowest point the road runs at just 420m above sea level, but it rises to 1,450m. Finding a route through the mountains was extremely difficult, as a result of which 22% of the road has been built on bridges, with a combined length of 25km. A further 16% (20km) runs through tunnels.
During peak construction 55 tunnel drives, covering 38km, were being excavated at the same time. Workers also had to contend with landslides, Karst limestone caves, coal mines, fault lines and underground rivers.
Completion of the road in December 2005 slashed journey times between Chongxihe and Zunyi from nearly four hours to just over one hour. The new route is designed to power the local economy, provide new opportunities for the rural population and attract investment into the area, which includes some of the region’s poorest villages.