China-Guangzhou Weibo
Sept 1: Haizhu Bridge to Re-open to Traffic
The oldest bridge in Guangzhou will open to traffic again on September 1, after 18 months of renovation work.

The oldest bridge in Guangzhou will open to traffic again on September 1, after 18 months of renovation work.

The workers were cleaning the bridge and testing the lights during the last week before the official opening. Many people came to the bridge to appreciate the new changes to the centennial steel structure. After the renovation, several sculptures were set on the bridge to commemorate the historical events of the bridge. There are also new street lamps of the style in 1930's, and a widened pedestrian pavement of 4 meters wide with a blind track.

According to Hou Yongquan, director of Guangzhou Construction Commission, the renovation of the bridge follows in the bridge's original style. All steel materials meeting the safety standard are reused on the bridge. The bridge was joined by rivets when it was built in the 1930's. The renovation team adopted the same techniques, although qualified workers were difficult to find. They had invited an old worker who was experienced in hammering rivets in the 1950's to train a team of 60 workers to hammer the rivets whilst renovating the bridge. "The precision is controlled within 0.4 mm," Hou said. And finally, nearly 180,000 rivets were hammered in the bridge.

"It's no less difficult than building a Yangtze River Bridge," Hou added, mentioning about the bridges, built in 1950's with rivets, located in Wuhan and Nanjing over the longest river of China.

Another highlight of the renovation is the installation of the calligraphic name of bridge. Before the bombing of the bridge during Kuomintang Government's retreat in 1949, there was a stone on the central beam of the bridge inscribing the name written by Hu Han-min, a famous calligrapher and eminent politician at that time. Now, the renovation team have reproduced the calligraphy with brass out of its original copy, and installed it on the beams at both ends of the bridge, hoping to restore the bridge's original appearance. The engineer explained that installing the calligraphy on the central beam would reduce the headroom of the bridge and restrict the accessibility of huge vehicles, so the team decided to install it on both ends.

There was also controversy about whether the three Chinese characters should be put left to right, the modern writing order; or right to left , the original order in 1930's. Hou Yongquan said they were doing a survey with the general public and the experts to make a final decision.

With the renovation completed, the 22 bus routes rerouted to other bridges 18 months ago will return to Haizhu Bridge and their original bus stops. They are Nos. 8, 10, 14, 29, 82, 86, 87, 183, 190, 253, and the overnight buses Nos. 6, 8, 22, 30, 32, 33 temporarily rerouted to Jiefang Bridge; Nos. 13, 88 and 544 temporarily rerouted to Jiangwan Bridge; Nos. 180, 186 and 823 temporarily rerouted to Renmin Bridge.

(By Lynus Tan, Rik Glauert)

Editor:Pan Hui
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