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February 22, 2012

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Reason for 10-meter crack in Lujiazui 'eliminated'

THE crack that split a road in Shanghai's Lujiazui area, to the alarm of passers-by, is expected to be fixed by next month.

The reason for the subsidence near the under-construction Shanghai Tower "has been eliminated as the underground structure construction has been finished," underground structure expert Sun Jun told Xinhua news agency.

"Considering the current situation, it will not affect the safety of nearby high-rises and pipelines beneath the ground," Sun added. Sun said subsidence during construction was a "normal phenomenon."

The 10-meter-long crack, which made headlines last week after photographs were posted online, first appeared in December last year.

The Shanghai government said the crack was the result of "subsidence during foundation ditch construction of the Shanghai Tower."

The tower, set to become the tallest building in China by 2014, will be 632 meters high upon completion.

City authorities said they would be carrying out inspections on the surrounding area and pipelines to ensure safety.

"The situation is under control," said Pei Xiao, an official with Shanghai's construction and traffic commission.

Gu Guorong, a professor with Shanghai Geotechnical Investigations & Design Institute, said subsidence could hardly be avoided when building high-rises on the soft soil structure in Shanghai but it was within limits.

Subsidence takes place when underground water is pumped out when carrying out foundation ditch construction, Gu said. It gradually stops as the water is pumped back afterward.

Many other cities are seeing the same situation as the pace of construction quickens. In a plan drawn up by more than 10 state ministries to deal with subsidence in China, it is said that more than 50 cities are experiencing the problem.

"The places which suffer the most severe subsidence problem are the Yangtze River Delta region, the North China Plain area and the Fenwei basin area," officials said.

About 46 percent, or about 64,000 square kilometers, of the North China Plain is said to have seen subsidence of more than 200 millimeters over the past few years.

Guan Fengjun, an official with the Land and Resources Ministry, told China Central Television that a monitoring network would be set up by 2015 at the key areas.

By 2020 the tendency of subsidence to get worse is expected to have been curbed, Guan said.

Wei Zixin, a Shanghai Geotechnical Investigations researcher, said one of the most effective ways of curbing subsidence was to pump back groundwater drained during construction and the city had been doing that for a number of years now.


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