The entrance to the No 3 cave along the pipe gallery for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is under construction. [Photo/sasac.gov.cn]
A comprehensive pipe gallery project for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, built by China Railway 14th Bureau Group Co and China Railway 18th Bureau Group Co, subsidiaries of China Railway Construction Co (CRCC), was fully completed on Jan 7 after 15 months' hard work.
With a total investment of 1.75 billion yuan ($259 million), the 7.9-kilometer pipe gallery is regarded as a lifeline for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics' Yanqing competition zone, and will play a key role in providing energy resources and ensuring electrical, telecommunication and water supply not only for people at the games but also production of snow.
Yanqing district, 74 kilometers northwest of central Beijing, will host several events in 2022, including Alpine skiing, bobsleigh and luge. The core area of the Yanqing zone is located at the southern slopes of Xiaohaituo Mountain, 90 kilometers northwest of downtown Beijing. There will be four venues for the Games in Yanqing — the National Alpine Ski Center, National Sliding Center, Yanqing Olympic Village and mountainous area media center.
To minimize the disturbance to the original landscape, the project is designed as an underground pipe gallery, starting south from the Foyukou reservoir and extending north to the core area of the Yanqing zone. The pipe gallery will offer support for a series of winter sports to be launched during and after the Games and will boost the sustainable use of the venues.
As the first pipe gallery in China built in a mountain tunnel, it lies 550 meters above sea level at its entrance and 1,100 meters above sea level at its exit. In addition to that steep lift the project has a maximum grade of 15 percent.
Given the high mountains and dense forests in the Yanqing region, the construction of the venues will be the most challenging buildings designs in Winter Olympics history because they must have all the functionality of world-class sporting venues.
During the construction process, China Railway 14th Bureau Group Co has insisted on the principle of "minimal disturbance, early spray anchoring, fast seal off, frequent testing" and strengthened geological conditions forcast under harsh challenges such as the large slope in caves, mutations surrounding the rocks, loop protection and time limits.
Faced with the 10 to 15 percent longitudinal slope, professional maintenance technicians check the engineering brake system on a regular basis and position safety avoidance facilities in the caves every 100 meters. The project has fulfilled the concept of "Green Olympics" from its site selection and construction method to the protection of wild plants.
The project began construction in September 2017, and is expected to provide water and electricity in September this year. It will be able to support the test events for the Games starting from January 2020.
(Executive editor: Li Shuling)