Build and destroy: The Chinese construction marvel

On Sunday, as the highest building that has ever been demolished in China was reduced to rubble in a matter of seconds, a 1,300-tonne bridge was replaced on the same day in a mere 36 hours.
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China's construction boom is frightening. Between 2011 and 2013, the Communist giant used more cement than US used in the entire 20th century, according to historian Vaclav Smil.

The fact was so mind-blowing that it even stunned Bill Gates, who tweeted it.

It is no wonder as China's burgeoning middle class continues to expand and bring about economic transformation, the architectural landscape has been changing rapidly.

Just how rapid?

On Sunday (Nov 15), as the highest building that has ever been demolished in China was reduced to rubble in a matter of seconds, a 1,300-tonne bridge was replaced on the same day in a mere 36 hours.

The 27-storey building in Xi'an, in Northwest China's Shaanxi province was demolished in 13 seconds, China's state television broadcaster reported.

1.4 tonnes of explosives were used to demolish the building.

Meanwhile in the capital Beijing, workers on Sunday morning finished reinforcing an old pivotal cloverleaf junction in a downtown commercial zone using a new prefabricated steel structure, China Daily reported.

The most challenging part of the overhaul was the replacement of the 1,300-tonne bridge structure that began at 11pm Friday at the junction on the northeastern Third Ring Road.

Replacement of the bridge structure cost 39 million yuan (S$8.7 million), according to Xinhua.

The Sanyuanqiao cloverleaf junction is a major congestion point on a tollway to the airport. It also links two pivotal highways - the Third Ring Road and the highway linking downtown Beijing with the outlying Shunyi District.

Built in 1984, the bridge was in poor shape and needed reinforcement for safety reasons.

grongloh@sph.com.sg