Partial Shenzhen Bay Bridge Closure as Snapped Cable Discovered

ShekouDaily   |   February 19, 2019

A snapped steel cable on the Hong Kong side of the bridge has resulted in the emergency closure of two lanes while they investigate the cause of the failure and replace the cable, the South China Morning Post recently reported. 

If you’re planning to travel to Hong Kong via the Shenzhen Bay Bridge, you may want to plan for a little extra travel time.

Highways Department officials explain why the cable broke. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Hong Kong’s Director of Highways Jimmy Chan called the incident ‘unusual’ but said there are no structural safety issues. Chan said the snapped cable, with a diameter of around 160mm, was one of six “external prestressed tendons” at the affected area. Following a preliminary study, it was believed the cable, comprised of many small steel bars, had broken due to components rusting, but it would take some time to find out why corrosion occurred after testing the material and strength, he said. Another 40 internal prestressed tendons also support the section.

Director of Highways Jimmy Chan. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Workers only spotted the problem at noon on Friday, Chan said. The last routine cable check in September, and an inspection around two weeks ago, found nothing amiss. “When the bridge was designed, we took into account the need for cable replacement from time to time. According to our experts, even without one cable, it won’t affect the safety of vehicles on the bridge,” he said. Chan said maintenance was done by Hong Kong contractors, but he did not name them.

Jimmy Chan called the incident ‘unusual’ but said there are no structural safety issues.

The 5.5km Shenzhen Bay Bridge, which took four years to build and opened on July 1, 2007, is the fourth of five – and the second busiest in 2017 – road-based boundary crossings linking Hong Kong and mainland China. It is a dual three-lane highway spanning Deep Bay from Lau Fau Shan in Hong Kong’s New Territories to reclaimed land in the Shekou area of Shenzhen. In the first 11 months of last year, there were 4.02 million vehicular trips through the Shenzhen Bay port.

Two lanes out of three on the Hong Kong-bound carriageway were closed to allow the cable to be replaced, which was expected to take around three weeks. Veteran structural engineer Ngai Hok-yan said the incident set off alarm bells that other parts of the bridge were not properly maintained. He said if the structure was adequately maintained, rusting of components and cables snapping would not happen. “This incident can be said to be unusual and rare,” Ngai said.

For the full story, visit the SCMP article “Snapped cable on cross-border Shenzhen Bay Bridge results in closure of two lanes but Hong Kong’s highways chief says there are no structural safety issues” at (VPN required if in China).