Dam Building Won't Stop Yangtze Shipping - Official

The state has pledged to take measures to guarantee the flow of cargo while work continues on the Yangtze River Three Gorges Dam project in November next year.

"We will strengthen our management of the temporary lock to ensure that transportation is accommodated during the work," said Wang Jiazhu, deputy general manager of the China Yangtze Three Gorges Project Development Corp.

According to Wang, the lock, which will be the only navigation access along the Yangtze River during the period, is designed to handle shipping with a total dead weight of 9-11 million tons a year.

The work is the next phase of the dam project. A coffer-dam will be built on the current water diversion channel so that workers can construct the last section of the 1,900-metre-long dam on the Yangtze River and build power generators within the coffer-dam.

The current water diversion channel, which was first opened for traffic in 1997 with the first river closure, is the major navigation access at present.

In flood season and other emergencies, Maoping dock, 1.5 kilometers upstream of the dam, helps channel some of the river transport by moving it off the water and onto land, Wang said.

Wang said the temporary lock is expected to be closed, which will completely stop navigation along the Yangtze River, for 67 days in 2003 after the two sections of the dam are connected. It will be closed in order to raise the water level in the reservoir to 135 metres and to put the first four generators into operation.

The shipping suspension period will last from April to June because it is the best season to carry out the work. During this period, the river water flows at more than 12,000 cubic metres per second, forcing the temporary lock to be closed to traffic.

During the suspension period, cargo and passengers will be unloaded from boats and loaded onto road and rail vehicles to bypass the closed section of the Yangtze River.

Wang said that after the completion of the Three Gorges Dam project, the river will be able to accommodate shipping with a dead weight of up to 50 million tons a year, up from the current 10 million tons. Transportation costs are expected to be reduced by 35-37 percent when the project is finished.

(China Daily 06/05/2001)

In This Series

Three Gorges Project Construction Quality Emphasized

Three Gorges Project to Be Dammed in 2002

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