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China's Urban Pipeline Network Set to Redefine Infrastructure Development

By RAN ZHENG|Mar 27,2024

Chongqing - China's 2024 government work report outlined initiatives to revitalize urban areas and improve the underground pipeline network. Chongqing, covering 82,400 square kilometers and with over 180,000 kilometers of pipelines, is modernizing its underground infrastructure using cutting-edge technology.

Chongqing's intricate underground infrastructure, comprising pipelines for water supply, sewage, natural gas, and electricity, presents considerable challenges. Constructing new infrastructure in this dense network while minimizing resident disruptions demands innovative solutions.

One recent project, the rainwater and sewage diversion pipeline network on Dongsheng Street, Yubei District, exemplifies these challenges.

 "The road was excavated for only 200 meters, and we encountered over a dozen underground pipe networks," said the project's responsible person. "Previously, we had to determine pipeline categories, management units, responsible persons, and directions, which not only added labor but also posed safety risks."

The "e Hutong" platform, launched by the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, has transformed pipeline construction. It offers construction personnel contact details for the excavation section leader of each management unit, facilitating a detailed understanding of pipeline locations and directions.

"Since its pilot launch in 2020, the 'e Hutong' platform has registered 335 management departments and 157 construction units," said Chongqing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development spokesperson. "Feedback information has reached tens of thousands of articles. Only in Yubei District, since the pilot, third-party accidents decreased by 71% year-on-year."

Besides, the city is promoting compact integrated pipe corridor construction to optimize underground space utilization while leveraging technology to protect pipelines.

"The Science Avenue in Western (Chongqing) Science City compact integrated pipe corridor is the biggest and most efficient one in Southwest China, stretching 28 kilometers long with a width of eight meters and a height of four meters," said the representative from the Administration of Chongqing Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone. "In this corridor, various pipelines such as electricity, communications, and water supply are all centralized, essentially living under the same roof."

Last year, Banan District introduced Chongqing's inaugural compact integrated pipe corridor, employing IoT, big data, and digital twin technologies. With 13,000 data points collecting information every three seconds, adequate facility and equipment management is ensured.

The compact integrated pipe corridor in Banan District, Chongqing. (Photo/ Tang Xin)

Data reveals that the city leads national integrated pipe corridor construction with 368.3 kilometers initiated, 324.5 kilometers formed, and 160.3 kilometers operational, showcasing significant progress.

"With the current transformation rate, China is poised to revamp over 100,000 kilometers of underground pipe network annually," said Gong Xia, Director of T.Y. Lin International (China) Rong Infrastructure Product Center. China's underground pipe network is experiencing a surge in construction and poised to become a pivotal aspect of infrastructure development."

Gong emphasized Chongqing's geographical advantage as a mountainous city, ideal for utilizing underground space. Accelerated urban resilience efforts offer significant development opportunities, particularly in renovating and constructing drainage systems.


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