Remember Carmageddon, LA’s massive freeway widening project that was supposed to paralyze the city? (It didn’t.) The demolition of a single overpass alone took an entire weekend. Earlier this month, a major Beijing overpass was demolished and completely replaced in less than two days.
How did this happen? While the demolition of the old bridge was more or less through conventional methods, the new overpass was brought in as a single prefabricated unit.
The innovation here is using modular road parts, something that engineers have been talking about for a long time. Unlike building construction, where prefab is becoming a key to sustainable development, we haven’t seen a whole lot of real-world applications when it comes to modularity in transportation projects. Our own Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan covered a proposed project for plastic roads that could snap together like Lego bricks, making them just as easy to replace.
The Sanyuan Bridge in Beijing is a major arterial on one of the city’s ring roads and would have taken up to two months to replace using traditional methods, according to Shanghaiist. This kind of construction can save cities time, money, resources, and, most importantly, a whole lot of headaches.
Watch a time-lapse of the entire project here to see how they did it: