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Maglev finally given approval
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The construction of the high-speed magnetic-levitation train linking Shanghai and Hangzhou has finally been given the go-ahead after more than a year of hold-ups.

While it was originally hoped that the line would be completed in time for Shanghai World Expo in 2010, that is now the year that construction is scheduled to begin.

The project was suspended amid widespread concerns among local residents that their health may be adversely affected by radiation from passing trains.

The provincial government of Zhejiang announced the decision in a 2008-2012 major construction-project plan, which included the building of a 13.42-billion-yuan (US$1.935-billion) Shanghai-Hangzhou passenger railway from 2009 to 2013, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

The Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev line is expected to be completed by 2014 at a cost of 22 billion yuan, according to the Zhejiang plan.

However, the plan did not specify an exact route.

From 2008 to 2012, 6.5 billion yuan of the cost should be allocated, and the provincial office supervising the Maglev project should finish preliminary work of site selection of the Zhejiang section and environment evaluation this year, the plan said.

Total length of the Maglev line will be extended to 199.434 kilometers from 175 kilometers, including a section that connects the two cities and a minor section that links Shanghai's two international airports.

Trains on the Maglev track are expected to hit speeds of 450kmh, meaning a one-way trip will take only 30 minutes. At present bullet trains take 90 minutes.

The new Maglev route willbe separated from communities along its course in Shanghai by a greenbelt 22.5 meters wide each side.

(Shanghai Daily August 18,2008)

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