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Beichuan reconstruction plan approved by Ministry
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On December 21, a review meeting on the plan for the reconstruction of Beichuan County, the worst-hit place in the May 12 earthquake, was held in Mianyang City and the plan was approved by Ministry of Construction.

According to the plan, local government has already done the early preparatory work and the reconstruction of new Beichuan County seat will commence by the end of February 2009. A brand new modern town with distinctive Qiang ethnic characteristics will appear before the public in three years.

Director of the China Planning and Design Institute Li Xiaojiang said: "This reconstruction plan will be submitted to the Sichuan government executive meeting by the end of the year. Experts on traffic, water and heritage will put forward detailed revision proposals at the meeting."

It is known that the new Beichuan County seat will be located to the east of Anchang Town, about 23 kilometers from its original location. Flat and surrounded by hills, the new area covers 8 square kilometers, 8 times larger than the old one. The Anchang River passes the area from the northwest to the southeast.

In terms of the plan and choice of the location, safety has been the top priority. The location of the new county seat is about 4000 meters from the nearest active fault. All construction will be built to Richter Scale-7 earthquake resistance standard, and the construction of some important public facilities such as schools and hospitals will meet Scale-8 criteria.

According to the design, an ecological landscape corridor will be built in new Beichuan and two ring roads, Shandong Avenue and Xinchuan Avenue will be linked to form a core area which mainly offers administrative and business services. Meanwhile an east-west urban landscape axis and a city garden will also be set up for the enjoyment of the public.

It is predicted that the reconstruction work will be completely finished by 2020. The new Beichuan County will maintain and highlight the cultural characteristics of Qiang ethnic group and western Sichuan areas.

According to the plan, the population of the new county seat will reach 63,000 in 2010 and 92,000 in 2015. By 2010 the overall construction area will cover 5.2 square kilometers and 7,000 existing residents will need to be relocated.

Under the plan, construction will be carried out in three phases. The first is a three-year rehabilitation period till 2010, which includes resettling over 30,000 people. The second is a five-year development period till 2015. The last is the five-year completion period running till 2020.

(China.org.cn by Ma Yujia December 23, 2008)

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