New Link. Chines highway will include tunnels and bridges. (Photo courtesy of Halcrow Group)

Chinese engineers and international partners are designing a 25-km expressway between Shanghai and Chongming Island across the Yangtze River. Officials hope that construction bids will go out by year’s end, pending technical approval by the Ministry of Construction.

International firms are aiding in design of a 10-km elevated crossing and about 9 km of twin bored tunnels across the north and south channels of the Yangtze. A technically simpler 6.5-km low-level bridge to link the channels over Changxing Island will be designed locally, says Chen Ganwel, technical director for bridges at U.K.-based Halcrow Group.


Halcrow and Denmark’s COWI A.S. are members of a team led by Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute that is designing the north channel crossing between Chongming and Changxing Islands. It includes an 8.8-km bridge with a 730-m cable-stayed navigation span.

A second team led by Shanghai Tunnel Engineering and Rail Transit Design and Research Institute is handling the 15.2-m-dia tunnels. Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Asia office and the Third Harbour Engineering Investigation and Design Institute are helping with the design of the tunnels. They will go through alluvial silts and fine sands, says Halcrow’s tunnel director Simon Fricker.

Despite reported slowdowns in government projects, the Shanghai-Chongming expressway has secured State Council approval, says Chen. It is intended to open up 1,000-sq-km Chongming Island to non-industrial development.

Two state-owned organizations are providing the financing for the estimated $850-million tunnel and the $820-million north bridge. Local firms will do most of the construction, but specific skills will be sought internationally, says Chen.