The planned Shanghai-Hangzhou magnetic levitation train line, which has nearby residents worried about magnetic radiation pollution, will be assessed by the state environmental watchdog, a senior official said Wednesday.
"The project impacts the direct interests of people living along the route, and some residents, scholars and organizations have been questioning (its environmental impact)," Zhang Lijun, deputy head of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), said during an online interview by China's central government Web site.
He said the SEPA has received an environmental assessment report of the project from the contractors and will invite experts to assess the project's environmental impact.
The official said the SEPA will make its decision based on scientific evaluation, after thoroughly studying opinions of experts and the public.
Approved by the central government in March 2006, the 175-km Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev rail project is estimated to cost 35 billion yuan (US$4.5 billion). Trains will be able to reach a speed of 450 km per hour.
According to the designers' blueprint, the maglev route would run southwest from the existing maglev station in Shanghai's financial center. It will then pass the Shanghai World Expo venue and cross the Huangpu River to the Shanghai Southern Railway Station.
From there, a double track is supposed to be built with the northern route leading to the Hongqiao International Airport and the southern route linking Jiaxing and Hangzhou while following the Shanghai-Hangzhou expressway.
The 34.8-km Shanghai leg of the proposed maglev route will run across the districts of Pudong, Xuhui and Minhang. Minhang District in the southern suburbs of Shanghai is to be a juncture of the two lines.
(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2007)