John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Using traditional construction methods would have taken months, so China got crafty.
Watching this footage of construction on Beijing's Sanyuan Bridge, you might think replacing an overpass is as simple as sliding a new level into a humongous IKEA bookshelf.
Workers with heavy machinery began picking apart the bridge last Friday night. They then hauled another bridge as a whole piece into the gap, paved it over, and reopened it in less than two days’ time.
The operation involved more than 1,300 tons of new surfacing material and supposedly saved months of commuter headaches. “An official said that if conventional construction methods had been used, then traffic would have been affected for at least two months,” reports Shanghaiist. “Instead, for the first time in China, workers tried out a new ‘integrated replacement method.’”
Chalk it up to Chinese building efficiency—or maybe cost-saving measures. As Shanghaiist commenter “Joe” surmises, “The longer it takes the more per/hour pay there is ….”