Humen Bridge, a sea bridge in southern China’s Guangdong Province has been temporarily closed due to abnormal shaking. Many netizens and drivers said it’s horrifying. What happened?
Videos of a bridge in Guangdong have been viral on the Internet since Tuesday, showing that the Humen Bridge, which runs across the mouth of the Pearl River in the province, shakes dangerously while being jam-packed by cars.
The bridge has been temporarily closed. The water channel under the bridge was also closed as a precautionary measure.
Local police said the shaking was due to strong winds and they imposed traffic control around 3 p.m. on Tuesday. More vibrations were reported on Tuesday night, according to a statement from the provincial Department of Transportation.
The bridge swaying back and forth made some netizens nervous, saying it was the first time they had seen anything like that.
The department brought 12 bridge experts together to investigate immediately after the vibrations were reported. They said the vibrations were likely caused by wind vortexes.
A structural engineer told Global Times that the sudden wobbling could have been triggered by barricades, which changed the force of the wind on the bridge.
“But this assumption can only be confirmed if the bridge remains stable when barricades are dismantled. If not, the builders and engineers should reconsider force structures of the bridge to avoid potential safety hazards.”
Some experts said when the wind speed reaches about 8 m/s, it causes limited vortex vibration of the bridge. Humen Bridge is now under repair. The bridge deck added a 1.2 meters high retaining wall (water horse), thus destroying the section streamline caused by vortex vibration. At present, the retaining wall is being removed.
△ The red barricades on the bridge
Guangdong Transportation Group said it has organized maintenance technicians to inspect the bridge and experts to study it. Preliminary indications are that the main structure of the bridge is not damaged, and possible causes of the swaying are under investigation.
“The main structure remained intact after the vibrations, so drivers should not be worried about passing over the bridge in the weeks to come,” the Transportation Department said.
Humen Bridge (虎门大桥) is a 6-lane bridge that spans 4.6 kilometers, running across the mouth of the Pearl River in Guangdong province.
It was completed in June 1997 and is a major artery connecting the cities of Shenzhen, Dongguan and Huizhou in the eastern Pearl River Delta with Guangzhou’s Nansha district, Foshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Zhongshan cities on the west.
It was designed for vehicle speeds of 120 kilometers per hour and can accommodate 80,000 vehicles daily, though it has had major traffic jams during rush hours.
The bridge remained closed on Wednesday.
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SOURCE | Global Times / Xinhua / 南方都市报