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Construction Set to Begin on Cross-Yangtze River Tunnel
Following the first major bridge across the 10,000-li (5,000-km) Yangtze River, Wuhan will possess the first cross-river tunnel on the said river. The Wuhan Municipal Planning Committee recently received the following notice from the State Development Planning Commission: the Wuhan Yangtze River Tunnel (including subway) Project, which has been approved by the State Council and the said Commission, is expected to start construction within this year.

According to the Wuhan Evening News, the tunnel is a highway-subway two-purpose tunnel with two ways, six-lanes of which the subway has two lanes and the highway four lanes. The tunnel starts north from Huangshilu in Hankou and south to the vicinity of Sancenglou in Wuchang. It is 3,609 meters long (1,380 meters in the central part of the river), 34.9 meters wide, and 4.5 meters in net height, with the toll station set up in Nandongkou (south entrance to a cave). The cross section of the tunnel is a 3-opening, one-duct corridor, including two motor vehicle passages and one subway line (headspace for the projected subway No.2 line) and one affiliated duct corridor, the planned speed of motor vehicle is 50 km/hr, and the project will cost 1.7 billion yuan. The time limit for the project is four years.

The tunnel will be built by the method of sinking pipelines. The central river part of the tunnel will comprise 12 sections of immersed pipes, each of which is 115 meters long. During the period of construction, adverse effect brought by construction on Yangtze River navigation will be eliminated through scheduling.

The Wuhan Yangtze River Tunnel Project was examined and approved at a State Council administrative meeting held this March. Acting upon the State Council opinions, the State Development Planning Commission recently granted formal approval of the project. The said Commission maintains that the tunnel project is basically rational in terms of construction scale and content, the plan for the construction of the project is by and large suitable, financially feasible and has definite solvency and certain risk-resisting ability.

Reports say that after completion of the tunnel, the average daily wagon flow is expected to reach 50,000 vehicles, capable of undertaking around 15 percent of the daily volume of traffic across the river.

(People's Daily April 29, 2002)

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