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Shanghai promises a safer city
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The Shanghai government has vowed to eliminate all potential problems that could lead to engineering accidents this year as the city enters its peak year of infrastructure projects, a city official said yesterday.

"Safety has been and will be our top concern," Zhang Yunjie, deputy director of the Shanghai Engineering Administrative Bureau, said yesterday.

He said all the Expo-related infrastructure projects - particularly the new Metro lines and at least three tunnels - will have to be completed by the end of 2009, so this and next year are the city's busiest-ever years of construction.

He said the government will send extra watchdogs to monitor "key engineering processes" - as when river tunnels have to run closely beneath operational Metro lines.

The government has also asked all construction companies to improve their safety supervision at all levels, Zhang said.

Every year in Shanghai, about 10 percent of the more than 1,000 kilometers of roadway within the Inner Ring Road needs to be dug out.

This year, the city has approved 1,400 projects involving roads. Among them, more than 100 Metro stations, most downtown, are under construction.

Another key project is the construction of a new two-level vehicle tunnel below the Zhongshan Road E1 along the Bund.

Once it goes into use before the 2010 World Expo, most vehicles will travel through the tunnel, leaving space above ground for pedestrians and buses. Many of the projects are being built with trenchless technology which does not break the surface.

(Shanghai Daily April 19, 2008)

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