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Potain’s huge MD 3600 tower crane drives construction on record-breaking Chinese bridge

In July 2021, the east and west towers of China’s Lingdingyang Bridge were finally completed, all thanks to Potain’s huge MD 3600 special application tower crane, the largest ever built by the company. Once complete, the Lingdingyang Bridge will be the world’s highest and largest sea-based steel box girder suspension bridge.

Stretching across the water of Lingdingyang, China, lays the enormous construction site of the Lingdingyang Bridge. With a steel box deck that rises 90 m (295 ft) above the water, the new bridge will be the world’s highest suspension bridge with 1,666 m (5,466 ft) of main span upon completion.

Two record-breaking 270 m (886 ft) cable-towers serve as the buttress pillars of this gigantic suspension bridge and require reinforced concrete structures, with a total of approximately 50,000 m3 (1,765,733 ft3) of concrete poured and 7,400 t (8,157 USt) of steel bars, which is about the equivalent of the material needed to build the Eiffel Tower. Aside from managing the large volume of materials needed, the project also has to withstand the frequent typhoons and the tough local environment of high temperature, high humidity and high salt at sea, posing more challenges for construction work.

Deployed by China Communications Second Navigation Bureau, the two Potain MD 3600 cranes took on this demanding challenge and played a key role in the installation of the east and west towers. With a height of 282 m (925 ft) and a lifting moment of 3,600 mt (3,968 USt), Potain’s MD 3600 is the largest tower crane available from the manufacturer and a perfect fit for the demands of large-scale bridge construction.

To build the bridge towers, the steel reinforcement for the concrete pillars was prepared off-site and then transported to the project to be placed in the pylon by the MD 3600 cranes. Because of the weight of the steel and the height at which it needed to be lifted, the Potain MD 3600 was the best option for this modular construction method that significantly reduced construction time. The MD 3600’s excellent stability also meant the work proceeded smoothly even with the uncertain weather conditions at sea. On July 19, 2021, both the east and west tower were topped off, allowing construction of the rest of the bridge to move to the next phase.

“We are so glad to see Potain participating in such a high-profile infrastructure project,” said Brian Wang, senior vice president at Manitowoc APAC. “Potain’s high standards in accuracy, stability and wind resistance are helping bring the construction of the Lingdingyang Bridge to reality, moving forward at the kind of speed that is demanded in Chinese projects.”

The Lingdingyang Bridge serves as the main bridge of Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge and tunnel. Scheduled to complete in 2024, the 24 km (15 mile) bridge and tunnel will take residents of Shenzhen and Zhongshan across the water in just 20 minutes. With the rapid growth of Shenzhen’s economy over the past 20 years, the bridge is designed to help the fast-growing economy maintain its momentum and accelerate regional development in the area.


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