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Sutong Bridge-A Cable-stayed Bridge with Main Span of 1088 Meters

Qingzhong YOU Chief Director Jiangsu Provincial Communications Dept. Nanjing, China Born 1957.

Ping HE Deputy Site Director Jiangsu Sutong Bridge CCD Nantong, China Born 1964.

Xuewu DONG Deputy Division Chief Jiangsu Sutong Bridge CCD Nantong, China Born 1967.

Xigang ZHANG Director HPDI Consultants, INC. Beijing, China Born 1962.

Shouchang WU Site Chief Engineer Jiangsu Sutong Bridge CCD Nantong, China Born 1950

The Sutong Bridge is the longest spanning cable-stayed bridge in the world with a main span of 1088 meters. In this paper, the design and construction concepts are briefly presented. Key technologies and innovative achievements are summarized. These focus mainly on pile foundation bearing capacity analysis, river bed scour protection and monitoring, superstructure wind-resistance study, mid-span closure method, as well as long cantilever structure construction control. Keywords: cable-stayed bridge, foundation, pylon, steel box girder, cable stay, construction control.

The Sutong Bridge crosses the Yangtze River approximately 100 km upstream from Shanghai, China, connecting the cities Suzhou and Nantong located on the southern and northern banks respectively. It is a key project for the coastal highways in China. The bridge is a seven span double pylon and double cable plane steel box girder cabled-stayed bridge, and has a span arrangement of 100+100+300+1088+300+100+100=2088 m (see Fig. 1). The Sutong Bridge sets the record of being the longest spanning cable-stayed bridge in the world.

Fig. 1: Span Arrangement of the Main Bridge The Chinese policy of reform and opening up to the outside world, as well as the strategic development of Pudong in Shanghai began in 1990s, have boosted rapidly the economic development of the Yangtze River Delta in China. As a result, crossing the Yangtze River has

river traffic here is very heavy and the large scale construction is a great challenge from a technical perspective. pile top and pile cap to track pile group settlements. The bridge deck is 34 m wide and carries 6 traffic lanes in two directions. However. As the foundation was a large scale group pile foundation. the China Railway Major Bridge Design Institute. and construction (see Fig. Foundation At the Sutong Bridge site. Maunsell Hongkong. At the same time. A comparison between various alternatives such as caisson and pile foundations was made during the design stage. who will act as general supervisor during construction of the bridge. It was not until 2001 that the Sutong Bridge project was approved by the State Council. 2). In addition. and the Runyang Bridge. China Railway Shanhaiguan Bridge Group Co. Therefore. Southwest University. and to optimize pile-soil interaction models and carry out backward analysis of foundation force transfer and deformation. The Jiangsu Provincial Sutong Bridge Construction Commanding Department is the owner of the bridge. the Jiangsu Provincial Communication Planning and Design Institute (JSPCD). Construction work is performed by contractors which include the 2nd Navigational Engineering Bureau of China Communications Construction Company Ltd. The bridge is designed by a consortium composed of the China Highway Planning and Design Institute (HPDI). The results showed that the compaction . the 2nd Highway Engineering Bureau of China Communications Construction Company Ltd. a series of model tests and real pile tests were carried out at design stage so as to determine the mechanism of pile-soil interaction and analyze group pile effects and bearing capacity of the pile group foundation. Ltd. 2: General Arrangement of Foundation (Unit: m) embedded in pile tip. geological and meteorological conditions are complicated and moreover. a large number of high-precision stress sensors and strain gauges were Fig. The structural design life is 100 years and navigational clearance is 891 m ×62 m. and Nippon Steel have provided technical consultation service during the construction period. pile cap stress. and the Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tongji University. restricting economic development of those cities to the north of the Yangtze River. the design traffic speed being 100 km/h. several other famous bridges like the Yangpu Bridge and the Lupu Bridge were built in China. the Sutong Bridge is located very close to the estuary of Yangtze River where the width of the river is 6 km. including the Jiangyin Bridge. the soil is mainly alluvial with a sediment layer thickness of more than 270 m. Bored pile group foundations were finally selected on the basis of study results from ship impact. Starting from 1991. the Nanjing 2rd Yangtze River Bridge. structural behaviour. several long span bridges. 2. and pile axle force and deformation of group pile foundation during construction. As technical consultants. COWI from Denmark. Ltd.. a proposal to build the Sutong Bridge was submitted for state approval as early as 1991. were built in Jiangsu.. and Jiangyin Fasten Cable Co. and seismic fortification as well as in consideration of aesthetics. riverbed protection.become a transportation bottle-neck for traffic directed to the new urban agglomerations north of the Yangtze River Delta.

Hydraulic model tests showed that the pylon foundation was susceptible to formation of a 28 m scour pit induced by a flood with a return period of 300 years as the water flow velocity was very high and geological erosion-proof performance was weak. The temporary construction platform installed during foundation construction was to some extent risky due to scour and therefore. including setup of the construction platform by steel casing. Riverbed scour protection is divided into two parts. i. and falling apron (see Fig. 4: Structural Details of the Pylon (Unit: m) . deep pile casting of fluid concrete and the post-grouting sealing effect would contribute to enhancing the bearing capacity of the pile group foundations. which coincided with model test results.2 was observed at the outer edge of falling apron. A slope of 1:2 to 2:2. (Unit: m) Permanent protection means dumping graded stones and armor stones permanently on top of the sandbags so as to form a layer with strong erosion-proof performance in the bottom of riverbed.3: Layout of Scour Protection Zone Distribution facilitate permanent scour protection. A long-term monitoring plan started at the very beginning of scour protection construction. Scour protection is divided into three areas.000 m3. It continued rapidly in the following year and then became stable after that. Fig. local scour had stabilized and even slightly backfilled. The scour shape validated the correctness of the pylon foundation scour protection design concept. Apart from that. In addition. Total quantity of scour protection materials dumped for each foundation is approximately 550. many critical technical issues. size of materials and thickness of layer for each area. It was also found that the pile group effect was not significant and that settlement was less than predicted. The results showed relatively obvious local scour occurred at the edge of falling apron shortly after the scour protection work.effect on the soil foundation from riverbed pre-protection. these three factors also enabled the large pile group foundations to attain the bearing capacity as one solid piece.e. Pre-protection means dumping of sandbags to ensure safety of construction platforms and to Fig. the central area (corresponding to size of construction platform). Calculations and tests were made to specify dimensions. From October 2005 to September 2008. the outer area. pre-protection and permanent protection. it was decided to provide scour protection for the riverbed within the scope of the foundation and its surrounding area. 3).

Each Pylon Stage standard section is approximately 4. pumping technology. wind tunnel testing on the aerodynamic performance of the pylon during erection. A-shaped. A light. The wind tunnel test results showed that pylons of the bridge could satisfy wind resistance requirements and normal working requirements under the allowable construction wind speeds. 3.Pylon At the design stage. in 68 sections. and stability. and erected by tower crane on site. several alternatives such as diamond-shaped. Foundation and pile cap construction started in June of 2003 and ended in May of 2005. Photo 6: Pylon under Construction 4.Steel Box Girder and Cable Stays . with or without a lower cross beam were proposed for the pylons of the Sutong Bridge.5 m high. and to determine the corresponding damping measures according to test results. working conditions of workers. simple and graceful inverted Y-shaped pylon was finally chosen. Wind tunnel tests of the free standing pylon were carried out during the design and construction periods (see photo 5) to determine the pylon’s critical galloping wind speed. Relative coordinates were used for construction layout so as to allow construction activities 24 hours a day (see photo 6). The pylon is 300. inverted Y-shaped (which resembles the Chinese character for “human”) towers.4 m high and is a reinforced concrete structure with hollow cross-section (see Fig. and deviation correction of the steel anchor box were studied. curing of concrete at height. Steel anchor boxes were fabricated in the workshop.participation in force transfer of permanent structures by steel casing. Measured results showed that verticality of the pylons was 1/40000 and the maximum axial line deviation was 7 mm. Construction of the pylons started in May of 2005 and ended in September of 2006 with duration of 16 months. pile tip grouting. and massive concrete casting of pile cap. which manifested harmony of heaven and human beings in Chinese traditional culture. taking full account of the influence of tower crane and formwork system. were resolved based on tests and calculations. lowering of the 6000 t steel cofferdam. Steel anchor boxes are arranged in cable anchorage zone at upper part of pylon to bear and transfer cable forces. for a total duration of 24 months. was conducted. pre-assembled. The pylons were built with an automatic hydraulic Photo 5: Wind Tunnel Test at Free Standing climbing form system. Technical issues as production of high performance concrete. as part of construction engineering investigations. Tracking prisms were used for construction control of pylon verticality during pylon construction so as to compensate such ambient factors as wind and temperature influence on survey measurements. structural strength. The tests aimed to evaluate wind-resistance safety during construction and wind effects on construction equipment. 4). In addition.

whereas the damper will provide a fixed connection between pylon and deck girder when the relative movement is beyond the stroke length of the damper.9 m/s at 10 m height with a return period of 100 years. Adequate provisions were made in structural details to facilitate future replacement of stays. and wind/rain induced vibration of stays. i. characterized by widely distributed vibration eigen-frequencies. and vehicle braking load. In addition. Photo 7: Pylon and Deck Semi-floating System This system has the advantage of being able to limit dynamic movement and load caused by turbulent wind. The bridge deck consists of a steel box girder with an aerodynamic streamlined shape.The Sutong Bridge was designed to a reference wind speed of 38. study vibration mitigation measures. to arrange concave pits on cable plane Cantilever Stage and to add external dampers to improve the damping ratio of the stays and limit their amplitude of vibration. The function of the stopper is that the dampers provide no restriction to movement of the deck girder as long as the relative movement in longitudinal direction is within the stroke length of the damper. and seismic loading by dissipating energy. seismic. These cables were made of galvanized high strength wires supplied by the Baosteel Group with a strength of 1770 MPa and diameter of 7. The stay cables were designed to have a service life of 50 years and have been tested for fatigue and water tightness. force transfer characteristics and site installation capability. Neither a fully floating nor a fixed structural system were feasible for both wind and temperature effects. Cable wind tunnel tests and damping tests were conducted to determine the wind drag coefficient of the cables. 9). and verify vibration mitigation effects.e. including fairings(see Fig. . but at the same time providing minimal restriction to the slow movements caused by temperature. temperature. parametric vibration and linear resonance of stays. braking. The main concern was vortex shedding of girder and pylon. traffic and static wind. It was decided to take aerodynamic measures to mitigate wind/rain induced vibration of the Photo 8: Wind Tunnel Test at Maximum stays. since both the overall structure and the stays of the Sutong Bridge are flexible. parallel wire stay cables were selected. According to fabrication technologies and conditions available to the manufacturer. A viscous damper system with a displacement stopper was therefore adopted following structural static and dynamic load analysis under wind. This resulted in a semi-floating system (see photo 7).0 mm. provisions for installing cross ties were made so the cross ties could be installed if necessary.

9: General Structure of Steel Box Girder Cross Section (Unit: m) For the girder section. Therefore. Test results from the completed bridge. The largest girder section installed by floating crane . During construction. and (3) Local parts of bottom slab and web plate of steel box girders were strengthened temporarily. However.Fig. section model wind tunnel tests with scales ranging from 1:70 to 1:13. Steel box girders were fabricated in the shop. structural safety of some parts was relatively low under maximum design wind speed. Based on wind tunnel test results. the maximum cantilever of the bridge was 540 m long and wind bracing safety was one of the most critical risks. Gantry rails were to be placed on horizontal bottom plate and fairing panels were to be placed at both sides of the rails. the position of inspection gantry rails at the bottom of the girder was further optimized based on wind tunnel results. In order to speed up construction and reduce duration of balanced cantilever construction. steel box girder sections for the side spans were supported by temporary piers and brackets and installed by floating crane (see photo 11) so that main span closure could be completed as soon as possible. which included measures such as withdrawal of erection devices and removal of objects increasing wind resistance. (2) A detailed anti-wind contingency plan. as part of the construction engineering investigations. the maximum balanced cantilever and the maximum cantilever test configurations revealed that the bridge's tested critical wind speed was much higher than the design critical wind speed and the structure had good aerodynamic stability. These tests revealed the Reynolds number effect in the girder and the obvious vortex shedding response in the girder at an angle of incidence of +3° in smooth flow. the following countermeasures were taken: (1) Planning was adjusted in a Photo 10: Erection of Side Span Large Box Girder Section Photo 11: Pylon and Deck Temporary comprehensive manner during construction to ensure that the maximum cantilever construction did not take place during typhoon season and to ensure that main span closure was achieved before the onset of a typhoon. During detailed design. wind tunnel tests were performed under the most unfavorable conditions for the completed bridge and the erection stages (see photo 10). due to the galloping effect.5 were conducted at the wind tunnel laboratories. was created and rehearsed. Test results also revealed that tuned mass dampers would not be effective as the structural vibration frequencies were relatively low.

the steel box girder and stay cables was fabricated according to data and requirements supplied by the construction control calculations. length of the stays. These parameters were regarded as secondary control parameters. cable sockets were first attached at the pylon end and were then drawn into sockets at the girder end in three stages. Wind and temperature effects must be compensated and accordingly. Erection of the steel box girder and stays started in September of 2006 and the main span closure was achieved in June of 2007. The elastic modulus of concrete in the pylons. After the stays were unreeled on the bridge deck. The erection cycle for standard girder segments was about 5 days on average. In addition. The elastic modulus and distance between two sockets were to be measured after completion of each cable production. a sensitivity analysis was carried out to identify the major parameters affecting construction tolerance. Both tensioning and adjustment of the stays were made at the pylon end. geometry and weight of each steel box girder section were to be accurately measured under specified environmental conditions. Standard girder sections were lifted by deck crane for fitting and then assembled and welded. steel pier with skid plate installed on the top vertically. CCD organized the designer and their consultants to verify calculations performed by the contractor. At the fabrication stage. pulling half the span of the deck (1000 m) to move toward the bank side by 10 cm and expanding the closure gap so that the closure segment could be easily lifted into place (see photo 12). During night time with relatively small temperature variation (ambient temperature approximately 20℃). elastic modulus of the stays all had significant effects on geometry and all these parameters were primary control parameters. The height of the steel anchor boxes. specific geometry control methods were adopted for construction control during fabrication and erection of the superstructure. Photo 12: Main Span Closure Segment Lifting 5.Construction control during Erection of Superstructures Due to the long span.was 60 m long and weighed 1250 t. long cantilevers and structural characteristics of the Sutong Bridge. and transverse anti-wind bearings perpendicular to the bridge direction (see photo 6). soft and hard tensioning. theoretical analysis revealed that structural geometry was highly sensitive to wind and ambient temperature. . and loading procedures. boundary conditions. Analysis results revealed that deviation of shrinkage and creep of the pylons. In addition. for a duration of 10 months. The maximum traction length and traction force were 25 m and 650 t respectively. In order to avoid major deviation. In addition. the temporary fixation between pylon and girder was quickly released to complete the transfer of structural system. At the same time. weight of steel box girder. River traffic was temporarily stopped during lifting operations. A scheme for main span closure by jacking was adopted. More than three months were spent to reach a common understanding of calculation parameters. the box girder was pulled towards the river side and matching ends of the cantilevers were adjusted and fixed with temporary plates. environmental requirements for the construction survey were stipulated. and differential shrinkage of welding between girder sections had negligible effects on the structure and these parameters could generally be neglected. half the tension force of the vertical cable was released and at the same time tie-down cables along the bridge direction were tensioned and released. height of anchorage points at deck end. verticality of steel anchor boxes. rigidity of box girder cross section. and weight of the stays had a lesser effect on the structure. During closure. length of steel box girder. Pylon and deck temporary fixation during construction was made by tie-down cable in the direction of the bridge. Approximately 90 percent of the required welding was completed before early morning of the next day when ambient temperature was rising.

recent outstanding achievement in . 13: Geometry of Pylon and Deck after Closure 10cm higher than expected.10 1. forward analysis and intermediate predicted geometry were compared to evaluate erection in a timely manner after each pair of steel box girders and stays were erected.10 -1100 -1000 -900 Deflection of South Pylon South Pylon 300 North Pylon 250 200 Level. the bridge has a balanced load distribution. Heavy snowfall at the beginning of 2008 gave an even load distribution of 0. which also provided a load test. the Sutong Bridge project is a unique. 13).50 0. Results from this test and dynamic and static load test performed before the bridge was opened to traffic show that measured values of stress and deformation of each control component of the steel box girder and bridge pylon are in accordance with theoretical values. when mid-span closure was being performed. and has firmly established itself a visionary project which has benefited from the wholehearted cooperation between Chinese construction units and international consultant firms.51 kN/m2 for the whole bridge. 6. Any deviation during erection should be corrected by a “forward correction method” to avoid sudden change or excessive compensation. It encourages further developments in engineering and project management. the bridge has a smooth geometry without any local deviation (see Fig. THEO Measured 25/06/2007 02:10 COWI.50 0.20 0.80 0.00 1. The whole construction process lasted for about five years. In practice.00 0. By any standard. 6 km of approach bridges.Erection was primarily controlled by cable length.40 1.10 0. the closure segment was laid out to be in agreement with the top plate. Photo 14: Sutong Bridge Opened to Traffic The Sutong Bridge project has brought about important advances in the theory and practice of bridge aerodynamics and construction control.50 1. and the main bridge itself.10 0.60 0.90 0. The total cost of the project is about 1.20 0. THEO CENTRE LINE UPSTREAM DOWNSTREAM 0 -0.40 0. The bridge was opened to traffic in May. and structural performance complies with design code and standard with sufficient strength and rigidity.60 1.70 1.70 0. Conclusion Construction of the Sutong Bridge began in June 2003.10 0.00 -0. therefore the very innovative construction control implemented on this project was successful in achieving good results in this record-breaking cable-stayed bridge construction. almost one year ahead of schedule.2 billion US dollars including 23 km of approach roads.90 1.40 0.30 0.10 2. Monitoring of bridge during operation shows that stress and deformation of each structural component are in accordance with the design. In June 2007.Whole Bridge [m] 2. In general. and web plate of the box girder as well as keeping the centreline of the cantilever tip at both sides to within 1 mm while the geometry of the completed bridge was about Vertical profile .00 0. Z [m] -800 -700 -600 -500 -400 -300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 150 100 50 FINAL BRIDGE COWI.80 1.30 0. 2008 (see photo 14). The Sutong Bridge is working properly now to create enormous social and economic benefits.20 1.60 Deflection in X-dir [m] Fig.30 1. bottom plate.

[5] YOU Q. [6] JENSEN O. References China Highways Planning and Design Institute.C. “Assessment and Concept Design of Scour Protection for Sutong Bridge. May 2001. Sutong Main Bridge Construction Organizational Design for C3 Contract... China”. China Communications Press.S.. 2004.R.6. Bridge Construction Control Technology.Z.W.WU S. June 2007. Engineering Science. Precise Works Survey Technology and Its Application. Jiangsu Provincial Communications Planning and Design Institute. 9. DONG X. 3rd International Conference on Scour and Erosion.S. Vol. May 2005. [3] XIANG Z.. July 2004. [4] HUA X. et al. material innovation. P. Construction Design of Sutong Main Bridge.bridge engineering clearly demonstrating technical innovation. and harmony with the environment. HUANG T.. high aesthetic merits. October 2001.Chinese Academy of Science. “Challenge and Innovation during Construction of Sutong Bridge Foundation”.. Netherland,August. [2] The Second Navigational Engineering Bureau of CHEC. [1] . Amsterdam. Building and Design Institute Subordinated to Tongji University. No.. Hehai University Press. TRUELSEN C. J.