Despite the impact of SARS, construction of the urban transportation system in Beijing has been going ahead smoothly, aiming to provide a quick, safe and environmentally friendly traffic system for the 2008 Olympic Games.
As the first newly built road serving the Olympic Green, the Xindian Road started construction early last month in the northern part of the area, which will gather 13 Olympic sports facilities.
The Xindian Road is also the first of the Olympic Green infrastructure projects to get underway.
"The SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak did not have much impact on the preparatory work for the games," said Vice-Mayor of Beijing Liu Jingmin in a recent interview.
The road is expected to be finished by the end of November, laying the groundwork for the construction of the National Stadium and the National Swimming Centre.
Linking up with the Badaling and Beijing-Chengde expressways, the 5-kilometre-long road will be the main east-west thoroughfare in the Olympic Green. The road's speed limit is 60 kilometers per hour.
The plans for another four roads in the Olympic Park project have also been mapped out, and will begin construction this year. The completion of the whole project will create a traffic system that makes for more convenient travel around the main venue, according to Zhang Changying, senior engineer of Beijing Gonglian Inc, which is in charge of the construction.
Meanwhile, the Beijing municipal government is putting greater efforts into the development of its rail network.
Early this year, a 41-kilometre urban railway was put into operation.
To date, the total length of rail transportation in Beijing has been expanded from 50 kilometres at the time of the bidding to over 100 kilometers.
To meet the traffic demand of the Olympic Games, the city plans to build three new subways, all with the Olympic Green as an important transit point. The evaluation of these projects has been concluded and construction is scheduled to begin next year.
By 2008, Beijing will have a total of 300 kilometers of rail lines.
Beijing promised that it will take no more than 30 minutes for athletes to travel to venues from the Olympic Village during the 2008 Olympics.
(China Daily July 14, 2003)