An uplifting profession

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-15 18:18:01

Hong Lixian, one of the construction workers, is about to move planks onto the steel frame while the workers behind him use steel pipes to extend the frame. Photo: CFP

It's certainly not a job for the faint-hearted. On one side is a sheer rock face, and on the other side, a drop of several hundred meters.

In Pingjiang county, Hunan Province, workers are building a walkway in the mountains, with no safety straps or nets, and nothing to protect them but a safety helmet.

The walkway is located in the Shiniuzhai National Geo-park, a 523-meter tall mountain at the intersection between Sichuan, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces. Rugged terrain and unique rock formations have made the area a tourist attraction.

The local government is building the 4-kilometer long sightseeing walkway to lure in more visitors. The last kilometer of the walkway started construction last October, 400 meters of which is a glass, see-through suspended walkway.

The 21 construction workers at the site earn a salary of 400 yuan a day. Most of them are from Shaorao in Jiangxi Province and are over 40 years old.

"We started building the walkway standing on the few footholds we can find on the cliff. The first step is to build a frame with steel pipes off the side of a cliff. We then add planks onto the frame, which makes a simple working platform," Zhang Xianguo, the construction team overseer, said.

Standing on these makeshift planks, the workers then need to carry heavy reinforcing bars and wheelbarrows full of concrete hundreds of meters in the air.

Zhang Jingfa, a 50-year-old construction worker, has been spending most of the past decade on mountains and cliffs, building such walkways. He's in charge of the first and most dangerous part of this deadly mission: building frames with steel pipelines.

Zhang has gotten accustomed to this precarious lifestyle. "It's actually not as dangerous as people think it is, as long as you watch out a bit," he said.

Global Times

Workers pass across the planked steel frame. Photo: CFP


Zhang Jingfa (top) and his colleages wirewalk on the steel pipes as they build the steel frame. Photo: CFP

Two workers pour and flatten out concrete on the frame. After the concrete dries, the frame and planks will be dismantled. Photo: CFP

Workers sleep next to each other in a makeshift tent on the mountain. Photo: CFP



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