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January 14, 2014

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60 ‘spider-men’ give Oriental tower new look

Some 60 well-trained “spider-men” completed the repairs and renovation work on Shanghai’s landmark Oriental Pearl TV Tower for the first time in 20 years, officials said yesterday.

Over a period of seven months, the workers dangled from wires from over 200 meters, cleaning the surface that was turning yellow and grey. They filled the small cracks on the surface with a special chemical mixture, said Li Zhihong, president of the Shanghai Mechanized Construction Group, which was responsible for the project.

The tower is now covered with a special protective membrane that is transparent and waterproof and is expected to keep the tower “new” for at least 30 years, Li said.

“The tower will return to its former glory,” he claimed.

Gu Kai, chief project engineer for the renovation work, said the special membrane will wash away the dusts during rains.

The 468-meter tall tower, a landmark in Pudong New Area’s Lujiazui financial hub, is a popular attraction in the city. It was the tallest structure in Asia when it was built in 1994.

Sixty skillful workers spent 80 percent of their working hours hanging outside on the tower, Gu said. They worked between 10pm and 4am in the night for most of the time to ensure that tourists remained unaffected.

Gu said a special chemical kept them “glued” as they went about their job of cleaning the exterior. They mainly worked below 254 meters.

“Training the workers was similar  to training a pilot,” said Gu. The workers had received special training for a year before undertaking the arduous task.

The tower consists of several big columns which are 9 meters in diameter, the space module, the upper sphere, the lower sphere, five small spheres, tower base and the square.

It costs 150 yuan (US$24.8) for entry.



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