Sealing the deal

TrelleborgĀ“s sealing the deal

Water tightness is key to the island and tunnel project of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Trelleborg will ensure that 33 tunnel sections remain safe at deep-sea depths of up to 40 metres.

Since the official start of the island and tunnel project of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai- Macau bridge (HZMB) joint venture of China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) in 2009, work has not stopped for engineers and other staff, such as Lin Ming, General Project Manager and Chief Engineer. Zhuhai, in Guangdong province, China, stands on the west bank of Pearl River Delta (PRD), which feeds into the South China Sea. It borders Macau and faces Hong Kong on the other side of the delta. Lin has worked for more than 30 years on a variety of construction projects for CCCC. Nevertheless, the difficulties and risks involved in this project are unprecedented for Lin and his colleagues. As a combination of bridge, tunnel and artificial island, the 49.9 kilometer HZMB is a mega-link between Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau. The island and tunnel project, overseen by the CCCC joint venture, is a critical part of the overall construction work, and involves some of the most difficult to construct immersed tunnel in the world – and two artificial islands.

The expected service life of the HZMB is 120 years, and it’s designed to withstand a magnitude-8 earthquake. As a result, the tunnel sections need to remain watertight for 120 years. Water tightness is integral to the immersed tunnel, and requires high- quality sealing products. Therefore, the Project Management Department organized an international bidding for the tender. According to Lin, the competition was stiff, with several well-known suppliers of sealing solutions dropping out due to the highly specific technical standards required and a lack of appropriate experience. Trelleborg won the bid, becoming the sole supplier of sealing solutions for the immersed tunnel, with the Project Management Department taking a variety of factors into consideration, such as product performance, product design and corporate performance. The products ordered included Gina gaskets, Omega seals, waterstops and a variety of sealing accessories.

The order placed by the Project Management Department is Trelleborg’s biggest ever in terms of tunnel infrastructure business. According to Lin, the project will expand Trelleborg’s brand influence and strengthen its lead in the industry. “As a business partner, we are very happy with our relationship with Trelleborg,” Lin says. “We believe the sealing products will continue to satisfy our demands in the following installations as long as we’re working with Trelleborg. It’s an unparalleled feat for us to undertake an offshore engineering project of this scope relying on our own capabilities. Thankfully, we are working with Trelleborg, a reliable partner, to achieve mutual trust and benefits.”

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