World's First Two-deck Tunnel to Open in 2005

The Fuxing Road Tunnel is expected to be the world's first two-level underground passageway as early 2005, its designers said yesterday.

The only other similarly designed tunnel, in Paris, is not scheduled to be completed before 2008, said Qiao Zongzhao, a senior engineer with the Shanghai Tunnel Engineering and Rail Transit Design and Research Institute.

The Fuxing Road Tunnel is expected to be completed in December 2004. Tunnel work under the Huangpu River began three months ago.

The tunnel, which will connect Fuxing Road E. in Puxi with Zhangyang Road in Pudong District, is actually two separate tubes 2,600 meters long. One tube will handle traffic heading west toward Puxi, while the other will handle eastbound traffic toward Pudong, Qiao said.

"It looks like we're building an elevated road within a tunnel," she explained.

The 2.6-meter-high upper levels will have two lanes that will be used only by private cars and taxis. The single lane on the 4-meter-high lower levels will be open to larger vehicles, such as trucks and buses, as well as cars.

The new tunnel's tubes will have about the same diameter as the Yan'an Road Tunnel, but the two-level design means it will be handling nearly 30 percent more traffic than the Yan'an tunnel, said Chen Hong, one of the tunnel's designers.

Qiao said the cost of the Fuxing tunnel "will be only a little higher than the estimated amount of nearly 1.4 billion yuan (US$168 million) that contractors said is needed to build a tunnel without a second level." She declined to provide a specific price tag.

The tunnel's tubes will have several emergency exits in case of accidents, such as fires.

Two other tunnels currently under construction will connect the Outer Ring Road and Dalian Road with Pudong.

( February 22, 2002)

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