April 11 - Self-propelled transport vehicles supplied by NICOLAS INDUSTRIE of France have been involved in the movement of 25,500 tonnes of steel for the construction of a seven-km long bridge over the Yangtze River in China.

The ChongQi bridge will eventually connect Chongming Island - an island in Shanghai - and the city of Qidong in Jiangsu. For the project, 12 main steel elements for the bridge's central span had to be transported from the assembly site to the destination.

The concrete and steel bridge construction will eventually form part of the Shanghai motorway and has been designed to shorten the current 52 km long route between Shanghai and Qidong.

The load-bearing structure of the bridge consists of 12 prefabricated segments manufactured by the " Jiangsu Zhongtai Steel Structure Co. Ltd . (ZTSS)" in Jiangsu. The challenge was to transport the gigantic steel constructions from the production facility to the jobsite - a distance of around two km. The dimensions of the individual segments speak for themselves: two segments each weighing 595 tonnes and 56 m long; two segments weighing 1,890 tonnes and 147 m long respectively as well as eight segments each with a weight of 2,566 tonnes and 185 m long.

ZTSS, is a long-standing customer of NICOLAS and uses its transportation equipment in its daily manufacturing operations. The 12 bridge segments were moved in each case on NICOLAS MDE SP and MDED SP axle lines. Both vehicle types have been designed to handle challenging operations on the road as well as special requirements regarding the transportation of plant equipment and large components in the industrial sector. The modular construction allows a wide range of coupling possibilities of the individual vehicle units both longitudinally and crosswise.

112 axle lines were used to move the individual bridge elements towards the Yangtze estuary, with 48 axle lines at the front and 64 lines at the rear, arranged in a 4-file formation - 2 x 24 and 2 x 32 axle lines respectively coupled laterally. Both transportation combinations are connected to each other by means of a data cable and driven by four power packs.

On arrival at the river bank, the load is rolled on to a pontoon. Here, the hydraulic axle compensation of the self-propelled platform trailer is really pushed to the limits of its capabilities when driving over the ramps. The NICOLAS pendulum axle technology has a lifting height of 0.65 m which is necessary particularly in the case of the transporting extra large loads in order to ensure that the permissible axle load is not exceeded as well as to protect the vehicles against overloading. The transport is taken by pontoon to the assembly point in the estuary between Chongming Island and Jiangsu where the individual bridge segments are mounted to each other with the help of a ship crane. The bridge is scheduled for completion in June 2012.

NICOLAS INDUSTRIE is a member of Cargo Equipment Experts (CEE), a global network for cargo equipment owners such as haulers, crane operators, tug and barge operators, stevedores and export packers, port operators and air cargo handling equipment owners and supporting industry, serving the heavy and outsized cargo industry.