Shenzhong Link is a 24km-long sea-crossing link between Shenzhen and Zhongshan cities in Guangdong Province, China. The People’s Government of the Guangdong Province is building the transit corridor.

The sea-crossing link will feature a tunnel, which will be one of the biggest and widest immersed tunnels in the world, upon completion.

The foundation for the project was laid in May 2017 while the construction is expected to be completed in 2024.

The link is a major infrastructure project in China and will improve mobility in the southern part of the country. It will have the capacity to carry up to 90,000 cars a day and reduce the travel time between Shenzhen and Zhongshan from 120 minutes to 20 minutes.

The project design received first prize in an international competition in 2016 for its technical excellence and aesthetic appearance.

Shenzhong Link location

Shenzhong Link will span over the Pearl River estuary connecting the eastern and western banks of the river. It will also serve as a corridor to the Nansha, Qianhai, Cuiheng and Hengqin regions.

The new link will be located 30km to the south of the Humen Bridge and 38km to the north of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge link.

Shenzhong Link design details

The 24km-long Shenzhong sea-crossing link will consist of two artificial islands, two suspension bridges, underground interchange, and the immersed tunnel.

The link will have four traffic lanes in each direction, providing adequate space for large vehicles.

One of the suspension bridges will have a span of 1,658m and feature a twin box girder, which offers stability under extreme wind conditions.

The post-tensioned segmental tunnel concept will have 31 sections, with each section measuring 185m-long and 70m-wide. It will have the widest road bores varying from 19m to 38m.

The multi-purpose artificial islands will feature environmental and sustainable solutions. It will accommodate a 15,000m² conference hall, office and restaurant facilities, and a promenade.

Shenzhong Link route

The link will originate at the artificial island located south of the Shenzhen airport, at which it will be connected with the Guangzhou-Shenzhen riverside expressway.

It will then switch to a tunnel underneath the Dachan waterway, the Airport Secondary Fairway, and the Fanshi waterway.

The link will then pass through a bridge near the west artificial island. It will cross the Lingdin West fairway and the Hengmen East waterway with a suspension bridge, approach bridge, and a cable stay bridge.

It will then be finally connected to the Zhongshan-Kaiping highway near the Hengmen interchange.

Details of the immersed tunnel

The immersed tunnel of the Shenzhong link will be 5.25km-long and 46m-wide. It will have two traffic tubes and a central gallery.

Full steel sandwich elements will be used for deep sections of the tunnel at water depths of 35m, while single shell elements will be used for lesser depths.

Gina gaskets and omega seals will be used to link the sectional elements of the tunnel in order to evade water entry.

Sand compaction piles and soil replacement will be used for hard spots along the alignment.

Contractors involved

Danish firm DISSING+WEITLING Architecture is the architect of the project.

Trelleborg received a contract from CCCC Fourth Harbor Engineering in May 2019 to provide tunnel sealing solutions, including Gina gaskets and Omega seals, for the immersed tunnel.

COWI is responsible for providing technical consultancy and design evaluation, along with preliminary and detailed design, and construction.

Tunnel Engineering Consultants (TEC) collaborated with Guangdong Highway Reconnaissance Planning Design Institute and Information Based Architecture to provide the integral design for the immersed tunnel and the artificial islands.

TEC’s scope of work includes architectural design and landscaping, structural safety and foundation design, life safety, mechanical and electrical installations, construction process and timeline, and construction cost estimate.