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A spectacular new bridge has recently been constructed in the Chinese capital – the sort of structure that reminds engineers why they became engineers in the first place. The New Shougang Bridge extends Chang'an Avenue, one of Beijing’s most important roads which leads to Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, across the Yongding River. It is the world's first twin-tower cable-stayed steel composite bridge, with a total length of 1,354 m and two asymmetrical arch-shaped towers symbolising gates to the city centre. Its main structure is 639 m long, and its main span of 280 m is the longest in Beijing. Its width of 54.9 m, accommodating eight traffic lanes as well as cycle- and footways, makes it the widest steel bridge in China. It is an entirely welded structure that used 45,000 tonnes of steel plates in its construction. The process of assembling the bridge’s two enormous sloping towers – key elements of its striking design – from prefabricated steel segments is shown in this 45-second video.
While we cannot claim that our bridge components, which are primarily designed to maximise long-term functionality with minimal effort and expense, are works of art, we like to think there is a certain beauty in them. As mathematicians see beauty in mathematics, engineers see beauty in well-engineered structures and components. And we see beauty in our TENSA® MODULAR expansion joint, two of which are installed at the bridge’s ends. There was beauty in its invention by mageba over half a century ago, when it revolutionised the world of bridge expansion joints – offering an entirely new level of movement flexibility and the ability to accommodate extremely large movements in a far better way than was ever possible before. And there is beauty in how it has been continually developed ever since then, maintaining its status as arguably the world’s most advanced and most trustworthy modular joint – among other things, in relation to durability (including especially resistance to fatigue), seismic safety and noise reduction.
The work we do at mageba is not assembly line production of structural components; in fact, almost all of the products we sell require project-specific design and individual fabrication, tailoring them for the unique structures in which they will be installed and for the particular design requirements that apply. There is no room for boredom or complacency. We have passion for what we do and take pride in our work – especially when we have opportunities to contribute to the construction of extraordinarily attractive structures such as the New Shougang Bridge.