Modern Marvels: the Danyang-Kunshan Bridge

June 30 marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge in Jiangsu, China. Spanning a whopping 102.4 miles (or 164.8 kilometers for our friends outside of the U.S.), the bridge holds the Guinness World Record for the longest bridge in the world in any category and is largely considered a paragon of modern-day bridge engineering.

In the early 2000s, China began focusing on adapting its transportation system to better accommodate the needs of the Chinese people. Prior to the construction of the Danyang-Kunshan, driving back and forth between the cities of Ningbo and Jiaxing took 4.5 hours due to the heavy volume of traffic. To remedy the situation, a proposal was put forth for an expansive bridge that would facilitate faster travel between provinces, and in April of 2006, construction began.

The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) designed and built the bridge. Facing significant terrain challenges due to the Yangtze River’s soft soil, designers had to ensure that the bridge would be frequently reinforced in order to prevent the structure from collapsing; one 5.6-mile segment, which covers the open Yangcheng Lake, required 2,000 support pillars alone. Designers also fashioned the bridge as a viaduct, which are composed of many smaller, connecting sections that make the structure more versatile and easier to construct.

Ultimately, the CRBC succeeded in making it as safe as it could be; the Danyang-Kunshan Grand is reportedly sturdy enough to withstand impact from vessels weighing up to 300,000 tons, and it was fortified to weather a magnitude 8 earthquake.

Overall, the project took just over 4 years, required 450,000 tons of steel and a labor force of nearly 10,000, and cost the equivalent of $8B. Once it was finished, the Danyang-Kunshan Grand cut the previously mentioned 4.5-hour travel time to just 2 hours!

A decade since its opening, the Danyang-Kunshan Grand remains a quintessential model for bridge designers to use as a reference and is a major part of tourism in China. Moreover, it is an excellent example of how engineering can be used to overcome some of the modern civil challenges that society faces.

Image courtesy of MNXANL, Wikimedia.

KC and Sustainable Infrastructure

You may know what infrastructure is – defined as “the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (such buildings, roads, or power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise” – but do you know what it means when infrastructure is sustainable?

The concept refers to the design and subsequent implementation of these elements in a manner that does not negatively impact the processes necessary to maintain a healthy balance of equity and functionality within a community.

To put it simply, society would be unable to go on without transport systems, power-generation facilities, or sanitation networks that balance functionality with ecosystem preservation. As a whole, sustainable infrastructure protects the environment, facilitates the healthy development of a nation’s economy, and improves the quality of life of its citizens.

Because engineering firms design and develop these critical infrastructure systems, it is important that they meet certain sustainability specifications or certifications. KC strives to abide by a number of such regulations to guarantee minimal environmental impact when designing a project.

In addition to regulations followed during design, KC’s inspectors are experienced in observing required environmental protections in the field. Amendments put forth in 1972 to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act mandate that firms identify a facility’s potential pollutants before engaging in any stormwater work (since harmful chemicals can accumulate when stormwater is drained from an area) and devise ways to prevent those pollutants from being released.

These methods are called Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs), and must also include an emergency spill response proposition with a list of procedures to follow in the event of a release.

When performing inspection services, KC ensures that all SWPPPs are in place and that environmental permitting is adhered to. Additionally, KC applies for and complies with environmental permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP), and other agencies to protect the streams, wetlands, and environments surrounding various projects.

Making sure infrastructure is sustainable equates to a better world, one in which everyone works together to help the planet thrive, and KC is proud to play an active role in that effort.

Visit these links to learn about some of the “green” services the firm has performed in the past:


Infrastructure Week, Day 5: Roads

In the U.S., roads are an unavoidable part of our everyday lives. We use roadways daily to travel to and from work, school, social engagements, and more. So how do we deal with the issue of America’s crumbling roadway infrastructure?

As the years go by, American metropolitan areas are stymied by traffic congestion.

The average American spends 97 hours a year stuck in traffic. That’s 12+ vacations days! Meanwhile, suburban and more rural areas are forced to contend with deteriorating road conditions, as well as outdated and dangerous traffic configurations.

At KC Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. (KC), maintaining and upgrading our roads remains an important priority. Our civil engineers are skilled in parking lot and roadway design, and along with our traffic engineers they can effectively and efficiently plan, design, and oversee the construction of intersection improvements, parking facilities, maintenance and protection of traffic plans, highways, utility relocations, site lighting, driveways and other roadways, curbs, and sidewalks so that the outcomes not only provide for smooth transitions but also for economically functional results.

With projects like Cross Westchester Expressway (I-287) Exit 8E Reconstruction, 5th Avenue Reconstruction, DeLavergne Avenue Reconstruction, and Milling and Resurfacing of Federal Aid Roads, KC strives to maintain the safety and commutability of area roads, because at KC we recognize the vital importance of roadway infrastructure.

Infrastructure Week, Day 4: Wastewater

Wastewater is the dirty little secret no one likes to talk about. Nevertheless, managing our nations wastewater is of the utmost importance.

No infrastructure plan is complete without wastewater management. It can impact the health of residents, strengthen or weaken the appeal of a locality, have an effect on the environment.

As the nation’s population continues to grow, wastewater management has become increasingly crucial. Over the next 20 years, the U.S. is expected to gain more than 56 million wastewater treatment system users. This indicates the need for wastewater infrastructure improvements.

About 14,748 wastewater treatment plants currently serve nearly 240 million Americans, or 76% of the U.S. population. In its current state, our wastewater infrastructure suffers from 23,000 to 75,000 sanitary sewer overflow events every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These facts demonstrate the need for increased wastewater infrastructure funding.

At KC Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. (KC), our wastewater treatment group has designed, constructed, and helped to operate over 70 facilities. We work with government, industrial, and private clients to meet a full range of wastewater related needs. We approach each project with innovative and creative expertise to deliver comprehensive engineering services that solve the most intricate wastewater challenges from concept through design, construction, and operation.

With projects like the Tri-Municipal Sewer Commission Compost Permit Renewal, Wallkill Raw Sewage Pump Replacement, and Wappingers Falls Wappingers Falls Sanitary Sewer Pipe TV Inspections, KC has helped to increase capacity and improve the performance of existing treatment facilities. KC strives to meet strict water discharge policies, conserve energy, and reduce environmental impact.

Infrastructure Week, Day 3: Transit

Public transit is a staple of our nation that continues to grow yearly, although remains neglected and radically underfunded.

American transit systems carry billions of people a year via trains, commuter buses, ridesharing services, and more. These systems mainly provide transportation in urban areas, but are vital in many rural areas across the county.

In the past few years, we’ve seen major train derailments, non-passengers killed in transit-related accidents, and damaged infrastructure as a result of natural disaster. The resilience of outdated, unreliable infrastructure is tested day by day.

For full functionality of national transit systems, we need not only transit vehicles, but sufficient infrastructure like traffic signals, train tracks, and roadways to successfully carry and guide these vehicles. However, with lack of funding, years of deferred maintenance, and aging infrastructure, our public transit systems continue to suffer.

At KC Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. (KC), our civil engineering services include roadway and highway design, traffic engineering, lighting design, and other services to maintain and improve transit operations.

With projects like Gowanus Expressway Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and Emergency Repairs, Greenkill Avenue Bridge Replacement, and Route 9D Pedestrian Improvements, KC has provided construction inspection for replacement of bridge and mounting tube railings, design assessment for rehabilitation of railroad bridges, and traffic calming and street lighting design.