Preparations for damming a man-made canal built to facilitate the passage of ships during the second-phase construction of the Three Gorges Project have been proceeding smoothly.
Two separate teams have been working around the clock to build two coffer dams, one upstream and the other downstream, 150 meters and 125 meters in length, respectively, said sources from the Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corporation.
The man-made canal, 350 meters wide and 3.7 kilometers long, is located near the southern bank of the Yangtze, where the first two phases of the Three Gorges Project are concentrated mainly along the northern bank.
Sun Zhiyu, supervisor in charge of damming the canal, said that workers have prepared 4.6 million cubic meters of materials, including a large number of boulders, for the damming, which is scheduled for Nov. 6.
Following the damming, the Yangtze's water will mainly be discharged via 22 water diversion holes at the lower part of the dam, each 6 meters wide by 8.5 meters high. Ships and boats will pass through the dam area via the temporary ship lock.
The damming of the canal will make way for the third phase of construction on the 665-meter section on the southern bank of the Yangtze to complete the 2,309-meter-long and 185-meter-high dam.
The gigantic Three Gorges Project is situated 40 kilometers from Yichang City, in central China's Hubei Province. Construction began in 1993 and will be completed in 2009, when 26 generating units with a combined capacity of 18.2 million kilowatts will be put into operation. The permanent locks will also be able to accommodate ships of more than 10,000 DWT (dead weight tonnage) by that time.
The first group of four generating units will begin operation next year.
(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2002)