Industry: Road and Rail
Product: ContextCapture, LumenRT, MicroStation, Navigator, OpenBridge, OpenRoads, ProStructures
User: Chongqing Traffic Planning, Survey and Design Institute
Country: China

October 21, 2019

BIM Advancements and Digital Twins Optimize Design and Construction of China’s Meitan-Shiqian Expressway

Meitan-Shiqian Expressway is a key project in the 13th Five-Year Plan for Transportation Development in China’s Guizhou province. It is the first expressway in China that applies BIM methodologies for construction and management at scale across all disciplines. Located in a very mountainous area, the expressway is 113 kilometres long with the sections for bridges, elevated highways, and tunnels comprising 54.92% of its total length. 

The project challenges included complex topography and geology, numerous structures, a long implementation period, many interference factors, and a difficult-to-maintain project schedule. The Chongqing Traffic Planning, Survey and Design Institute leveraged digital twins to improve the quality of expressway design and construction and to implement the concept of full lifecycle management. With a total investment of CNY 17.88 billion, the line is expected to be completed and opened to traffic in 2021.

To prepare for design, unmanned aerial vehicles were flown to survey the existing site and ContextCapture was used to create a 3D reality model. Having this reality context helped the team accelerate and optimize the design, created with Bentley’s open modelling and simulation applications, shortening the construction period by 89 days. 

Using OpenRoads to build a multidiscipline BIM model helped the team identify more than 100 collisions prior to construction. LumenRT helped the team develop an immersive, virtual experience for builders to understand design intent. Lightweight iModel files were exported into OpenRoads Navigator to facilitate review of designs. In all, the contributing disciplines accumulated 61 gigabytes of digital asset data, creating digital twins to support future operations and maintenance. 

The use of multidiscipline modeling leveraging digital twins  transformed the traditional construction lifecycle on this project. The project team identified issues in the design stage that would not have been found and solved until the construction stage using previous methods. Identifying problems at the design stage cut the design effort and time in half, improved construction quality, and reduced construction costs. The BIM models collected during the project provide the foundation for maintenance and for modeling and predicting future asset performance. The application of BIM methodologies will improve the quality and safety of project construction and accelerate a fully digital strategy for the entire asset lifecycle, including planning, design, construction, operations, and maintenance.
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