City's smallest island to get 3 times bigger

A series of reclamation projects will triple Hengsha's land area by 2020. The latest, closing five dykes, has been the hardest task.

Hengsha, the smallest of Shanghai's three islands, will become three times its current 52 square kilometers by 2020 thanks to a series of reclamation projects. The dyke building and land expansion is aimed at developing the island's eco-system.

The project was listed as one of the 15 Gold Cup construction projects of 2017 at a meritorious awards for major construction ceremony on January 17.

According to Shanghai Dredging, the construction side of the reclamation project is in its  eighth phase and hydraulic reclamation will start after spring festival.

“We have conquered the hardest part which was to close five different dykes simultaneously,” said Yu Meiqing, the company's union director. “By applying sonar technology and autonomous vessels we were able to coordinate with teams at each gap.”

Yu said the dykes were in a straight line with gaps to be closed adding up to 2.2 kilometers. If a gap was out of sync, it could lead to an inrush of turbulent water that could crush construction of the dyke.

The eighth phase of reclamation will lift Hengsha island by three meters. More than 42.6 million square kilometers of land will be reclaimed from the sea — equal the size of Hongkou and Huangpu districts combined.

The reclamation at Hengsha island is the biggest shoal development project in Shanghai’s history.

“The land reclaimed will be hugely relieve the contradiction between a growing population and land shortages,” Yu said. “It would contribute to the shipping course as well as the eco-system of the island.”

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