- Illustrates the social usefulness of engineers by creating a safe and stable lifeline to education and agriculture for over 3,000 villagers in remote China.
- The new bridge replaces the makeshift bamboo bridge that was often interrupted by river floods.
- Built in a period of 12 days by a team of volunteers made up from Arup staff, university students from both Hong Kong and the mainland, and members of Wu Zhi Qiao Charitable Foundation.
From 21 December to 5 January 2012, a team of Arup engineers travelled to Mixia Village in Yunnan Province, China to build an Arup-designed bridge with student volunteers from the Kunming University of Science and Technology, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
As part of our on-going collaboration with Wu Zhi Qiao Charitable Foundation, the bridge provides safe journeys for the commuting villagers between Mixia and its surrounding villages which were often interrupted by damage to a makeshift bamboo bridge caused by the river flooding.
Building this Arup-led Wu Zhi Qiao project is truly a special experience for all those involved. The project team from Arup has contributed to a wide range of landmark projects, but this bridge bears another kind of significance to the firm. Lack of machinery and skilled construction workers, and the fine balance of robustness, sustainability and constructability in the remote location all posed great challenges to the team.
Mixia bridge is situated in a location with the most complicated geographic conditions, which requires the finest technical skills. To withstand the devastating floods, the bridge has an impressive 20m clear span with a vertical clearance of 6m. Due to durability and longevity, the bridge is constructed out of galvanised steel with rocks and stones from around the site used as counterweights. Moving the steel members manually along the mountainous track, with the heaviest single component reaching 200kg, was certainly another challenge. However the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers made all the challenges seem manageable and worthwhile. They have not only built a physical bridge by hand, but also a platform bridging the team and the local people.
Mixia Village is located at the southern end of Yunnan Province, close to the China-Vietnam border. A primitive bamboo bridge used to be the only link between the 2,000 villagers and external communities, but this lifeline to for education and agriculture was often damaged or completely washed away by raging floods in the rainy season. The natural and geographic conditions constrain the economic growth of the area; with the villagers living on an annual income of about RMB 1,000. The Arup-Wu Zhi Qiao Bridge will not only provide a safe and stable passage but also help to improve the livelihood of the locals.
Wu Zhi Qiao (Bridge to China) Charitable Foundation is a charity registered in Hong Kong. They encourage volunteers, especially university student volunteers from Hong Kong and Mainland China, to design and build footbridges and village facilities in remote and poor villages in the Mainland with green concepts.
…everything about this bridge illustrates all that is best in Arup.