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A sneak peek at ShenZhong Link: Underwater tunnel robots in action
Updated: 2024-06-11    Source: Yangcheng Evening News Large Medium Small Print

Towering structures pierce the sky, artificial islands stand firm at sea, and bridges stretch like dragons over the water. The ShenZhong Link (or the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link), a crucial transportation hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, is nearing completion. On June 7, a hundred journalists were invited for an exclusive preview of the project.

Intelligent inspection robots in the underwater tunnel

The East Artificial Island of the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link is located south of Shenzhen Baoan International Airport. Covering an area of approximately 340,000 square meters, it connects with the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Tunnel and integrates smoothly with road networks like the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Riverside Expressway. This is the world's first underwater highway interchange. Driving west from the main line of the eastern artificial island leads into the 6,845-meter-long tunnel.

"There are 14 intelligent inspection robots in the 6.8-kilometer tunnel, with one stationed every 1.2 kilometers on average in the north and south lanes. These small robots daily inspect the tunnel's traffic and electrical equipment. In emergencies, they can receive remote commands from the control center, rush to the scene, monitor in real-time, relay data, and use built-in speakers to provide guidance."

Huo Jie, the ShenZhong Link project leader from Beijing Jiaoke Transport Consultant Ltd, also introduced that the tunnel features dual-wavelength flame detectors, Beidou satellite signal simulators, and other intelligent devices to ensure safe and efficient travel.

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A landmark shining over Lingdingyang

Exiting the tunnel leads to the Western Artificial Island, a crucial interchange for bridge and tunnel traffic. The entire 24-kilometer stretch of the ShenZhong Link has no service areas. Operational management and emergency response facilities are concentrated on the two artificial islands.

"The buildings on the Western Artificial Island include the main building, wind towers, switch stations, fire stations, and pump rooms. The main building resembles open wings, while the circular switch and fire stations symmetrically aligned with the tunnel axis add a finishing touch to the island," said Ma Er'shun, Deputy Director of the ShenZhong Link Management Center.

Ma Er'shun added that a science education base is being constructed in the left wing of the main building. "After the road opens to traffic, social vehicles will not be allowed to enter the Western Artificial Island at will. Once the science education base is completed, we will announce the reservation methods for visits."

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A one-hour living circle in the Greater Bay Area is soon to be a reality

Leaving the Western Artificial Island, the world's largest offshore steel box girder suspension bridge, the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge (formerly the Lingdingyang Bridge), comes into view. With a main span of 1,666 meters, the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge has set five world records for offshore suspension bridge span and navigation clearance height.

Leveraging data from Guangdong Provincial Communication Group's digital maps and data centers, the ShenZhong Link is advancing the construction of China's first intelligent transportation system at the road network level, incorporating road network sensing, prediction, and early warning functions. This will enhance the traffic capacity of the Pearl River Delta's highway network, providing more travel options and a new travel experience for the public crossing the Pearl River.

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