The Chinese monorail to Mecca

From New York City to Saudia Arabia, China's construction industry is flexing muscles of steel

By Andrew Leonard
Published October 23, 2009 2:26AM (UTC)
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Annals of globalization:

The wonderfully-named blog "Hurting the Feelings of the Chinese People" picks up an interesting squib from the Arab Press. (Found via Danwei.)

More than 5,000 Chinese laborers, engineers and technicians are working around the clock to complete the SR6.5 billion monorail project that will link Makkah [Mecca] with the holy sites.

The project will be ready for use to 35 percent of its capacity by next year's Haj season and fully operational in two years time. When it reaches full capacity, the 18.1 km long railway will transport about 72,000 passengers every hour between Makkah, Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah.

According to Reuters columnist Wei Gu, China's mighty construction industry now ranks with the world's elite -- "51 of the world's largest 225 contractors hail from China." And as nations all over the world ramp up government spending to stimulate their economies, Chinese companies are racing to exploit the opportunities -- and in many cases, importing from China both the construction materials and labor necessary to complete their projects.


Nor is it merely the emerging world where the Chinese are building monorails for the faithful. Gu reports that a Chinese contractor  "won a bid to build the Hamilton Bridge in New York."

From People's Daily Online:

The project, launched by the China Construction America, Inc. (CCA), consists of the renovation project of a steel arch bridge across the river and the corresponding eight ramps spanning the Harlem River, and the interchange of the U.S. National Interstate Highway I-95 and I-87 connecting Manhattan and Bronx boroughs of New York City.

(For an explanation of the phrase "hurting the feelings of the Chinese people" see here.)

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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