Monday, February 08, 2016

Fascinating Time Lapse Video Shows Bridge Building

An incredible bridge building machine known as 'The Iron Monster' extends a huge snaking structure across the Chinese countryside in a captivating video.

In an impressive feat of engineering the machine allows a giant concrete railway bridge to flow out from bustling city suburbs and into the wilderness.

Starting in a muddy quarry, it is seen crossing deep mountainous valleys as it connects the cities of Chengdu and Guizhou. An army of engineers work frantically around the machine, which has the technical name SL900/32, as it makes its way along the bridge.

A giant of mechanical engineering, the machine may seem complicated but it in fact works in a simple way. It picks up rafters or sections of concrete and holds them in place before installing them to span to the next bridge support, already standing.

The link is 1,376 km in length and was constructed to allow for the Chengdu to Guangzhou High-Speed Railway. Designed by the Shijiazhuang Railway Design Institute, the SLJ900 is often used to build aqueducts and rail bridges and was utilised for the construction of a link between Chongqing and Wanzhous, also in China.

Throughout the footage the mechanical colossus wheels itself into place with ease - which is considerably impressive considering it weighs 580 tonnes as well as spanning 300ft long and 24ft wide. It enjoys such fluid movement because of its 64 wheels, which are spread across four sections of 16. Each section can rotate 90 degrees which allows the entire machine to drive sideways. This can prove extremely efficient when building a structure such as the bridge seen in the video.

The high-speed railway bridge will probably not be the last to be built by the SL900/32, as each machine is capable of building 730 spans in its operating lifetime.

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