Beijing will start building two more subway lines this year in an effort to ease traffic congestion.
The municipal urban planning commission said on its website that it approved the two new lines on Wednesday. Construction is expected to start before the end of this year although no completion date has been announced.
Line No. 7, will run about 24 kilometers from Beijing West Railway Station to the eastern suburbs. It will connect the city's most congested traffic area, Tiananmen Square, with key business in the east. In all, there will be 23 stops.
The other new subway route, Line No. 14, will extend nearly 46 kilometers to become the longest urban rail route in the Chinese capital.It will connect the southwestern suburbs, the city's center and the northeast with a total of 36 stops.
Sources with Beijing Urban Engineering Design and Research Institute, the prime contractor of the subway lines, said they will begin surveying, mapping and designing the lines before unveiling an exact site map to the public.
No figures have been released as to how much the new subway lines will cost.
Beijing's urban railway system is expected to total 561 kilometers by 2015. Currently, it extends 200 kilometers.
The city opened three new lines in July, ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games, bringing the total number of subway lines to eight.
(Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2008)