Chinese-built Halogaland Bridge becomes landmark in Northern Europe

CHENGDU, China, Dec. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- On December 9, local time, Halogaland Bridge in Norway, built by Sichuan Road & Bridge (Group) Co., Ltd. (SRBG), was officially opened to traffic. The bridge is located in the Norwegian northern port city of Narvik, just 200 kilometers north from the Arctic Circle, and is dubbed a "bridge accompanying aurora".

As the construction is extremely challenging, Discovery documented the construction of the bridge and called it an unprecedented feat.

Four major problems must be overcome to complete the construction of the bridge and ensure its long-term safety and stability. First, the long span. The bridge over the 300-meter-deep rombaken must have a clear span of nearly 1.6 kilometers. Second, high wind speed. The wind speed in the Arctic Circle can reach 130 kilometers per hour, which places an enormous demand on the ability of the bridge to withstand wind. Third, difference in temperature. A temperature difference of up to 40 degrees will lead to thermal expansion and contraction of the bridge body, causing cracks in the concrete and, in worst-case scenarios, collapse of the bridge floor. Fourth, tight construction schedule. Normally, due to the extreme weather conditions in the Arctic Circle, the annual construction time does not exceed 6 months. To complete the project within the time limit, the workers must race against time.

Statens Vegvesen Nord Region (SVV), the project owner, has special requirements for the construction environment, the project scale and the steel bridge structure. It not only sought offers from the EU countries, but also looked for main contractors worldwide. The "Northern European Standard" is the most stringent European standard. Even German construction companies, which are famous for strictness, hesitated. The great challenge posed by design and construction placed the Halogaland Bridge Project in the center of international attention after the announcement of the tender.

On October 23, 2013, after fierce competition with well-known construction contractors from the United States, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and other countries, a joint venture made up by Sichuan Road & Bridge (Group) Co., Ltd. (SRBG), affiliated to Sichuan Railway Investment Group from China, and VNG from Serbia, relying on first-class technology and outstanding record performance in bridge construction, won the bidding for the 755-million-kronor (USD 96 million) steel structure contract of the Halogaland Bridge Project to produce all parts -- cables and steel box beams -- and undertake the construction of the project.

SRBG, as the first Chinese enterprise to build a long-span bridge in developed European countries, faced many practical problems. The first problem is language barriers. According to Norwegian Law, all bidding documents must be drafted in Norwegian -- a language not in popular demand in China. Translators are extremely scarce. To produce bidding documents in Norwegian, a high price must be paid for translation. What's more, it is extremely difficult to find a talent well versed in both Norwegian and construction terminology.

In addition, problems including the harsh construction environment in Norway, the high requirements that the owner imposed on environmental protection and occupational health, the stringent "Northern European Standard" and so on were all successfully addressed by SRBG. The project was officially launched on June 1, 2015.

The high efficiency and superior quality that SRBG manifested in the construction of the Halogaland Bridge won the recognition of the Norwegian government. The project manager of the Norwegian Highway Administration commented, "Although Norway and China adopt different standards, the Chinese side is very flexible, good at learning new things and cooperated well with us."

The opening of the Halogaland Bridge will not only make it easier for local people in northern Norway to travel, but will also be an important link connecting the west coasts of Norway and Sweden, a shortcut to the E6 highway, and a new landmark in Norway.

This is not the end of the story between SRBG and Norway. With the support of the Norwegian government, the group won the bidding for another Norwegian bridge project -- the Batstadtsander Bridge.

According to Lu Wei, head of SRBG's Halogaland Bridge Project, said, "When Batstadtsander Bridge called for bidding, the owner of the Halogaland Bridge recommended us on his own initiative. After their visit, they were very satisfied with our construction quality and efficiency and helped us win the bidding for another Norwegian bridge project."

In addition to Norway, SRBG has set its footprints all over China, and the business expands to Africa, Europe, southeast Asia, Australia and other overseas markets. Over the several decades, the company has built roads, bridges, and airports in Iraq, Kuwait, Yemen, Uganda and many other countries. In recent years, it has contracted a host of international engineering projects in African countries including Eritrea, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait as well Southeast Asia countries such as Cambodia.

Today, infrastructure projects such as Halogaland Bridge undertaken by China are scattering across the world. As the China-initiated Belt and Road Initiative progresses, China's engineering companies such as SRBG is becoming a global provider of quality infrastructure in the 21st century, and the "Made in China" brand they represent is becoming an iconic strength of China.

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Source: Sichuan Road & Bridge (Group) Co., Ltd. (SRBG)