Tianjin Tianhe advances BIM in construction of the largest sea bridge

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sea bridge, BIM,

A network of islands in the Yangtze River Delta, south of Shanghai, will be connected by the longest sea bridge network in the world

The four-lane highway begins in Ningbo on the mainland and connects five islands, including Zhoushan, Zhujiajian, and Daishan. This highway will significantly reduce travel time to the islands and connect Daishan to the mainland for the first time.

The total length of the main line of the project is 27.97 kilometres and the length of the sea bridge is 17.36 kilometres. It consists of two tunnels, five interchanges, and three cable-stayed navigable bridges.

Tianjin Tianhe is managing BIM processes and technology for the construction of a bridge across the main channel of Ningbo Zhoushan Port and showed an innovative application of BIM in the construction of a large-scale bridge over deep sea.

This expressway connecting the Yangtze River Delta is a key project for promoting national economic construction and will facilitate the rapid development of the regional economy. The new roadway is strategically important as it will connect the Zhoushan International Green Petrochemical Base with the outside world, allowing Zhoushan to develop as a prominent petrol warehousing and logistics base.

In designing this project, Tianjin Tianhe faced multiple challenges: the scope and complexity of the project, the poor operating environment, and the relatively tight time frame. The site for the bridge has an average sea depth of 30 meters and weather patterns that are complex and changeable, with tropical cyclones and a relatively large tidal range. These factors increase the risk to personnel and equipment.

To optimise construction time and reduce risk, Tianjin Tianhe used Bentley’s design applications, including ContextCapture, MicroStation, Navigator, and ProjectWise, to build a 3D model of the overland expressway, bridges, underwater steel pipes, steel platforms, and concrete structures. They then used Navigator to simulate construction operations. By establishing a 3D model, the team was able to find and solve 120 drawing problems and 624 collision points before construction even began. This allowed the project team to avoid many design changes during construction and greatly improve project quality.

Bentley software helped Tianjin Tianhe to reduce seaborne processing, installation, and construction time by refining site layout, allowing the creation of pre-fabricated construction materials, and optimizing construction transport routes.

Tianjin Tianhe was able to accelerate their digital advancement by a managing a multi-discipline collaborative model in ProjectWise. Data from ProjectWise informed each step of the process and the 3D model supported subsequent stages of the project including: roaming and rendering, reporting project deliverables, node model simulation, proposal review, and construction project management. By identifying errors and optimizing the construction plan, Tianjin Tianhe reduced costs by 4-5.5% and advanced construction progress by 10%.

sea bridge, BIM,

Xiaoyu Ma, general manager of Tianjin Tianhe, said: “Traditional infrastructure projects for large sea areas are confronted with multiple technical challenges, short work periods, and high risks related to construction safety. These projects are also likely to negatively affect the natural environment of the construction sea areas.

“Bentley’s engineering construction solution enables us to simulate multiple construction schemes for key nodes, select better schemes among them, and find and resolve unfavourable factors in advance that may arise from construction.

“Additionally, such solutions optimise the construction process, improve construction efficiency, achieve efficient collaborations and high information integration through the model-based work mode, and offer an effective approach to solving problems for project participants. Because of this solution, BIM technology is a valuable process that drives visual, digital, and intelligent manufacturing.”

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