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December 16, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Bridge to boost city economy

A NEW bridge expressway running across the Yangtze River will open to traffic before the end of this month, providing a boost to economic development for Shanghai and Qidong and other cities in neighboring Jiangsu Province.

The Chongming-Qidong Bridge link will enable significantly shortened driving time between Shanghai and Qidong and will work as an express gateway to boost logistics and travels, said local government officials.

The 52-kilometer bridge complex starts from Shanghai's Chongming Island, runs across the Yangtze River and ends at the coastal city of Qidong in Jiangsu. The road will connect to the local Yangtze River Tunnel Bridge expressway that runs between the Pudong New Area and Chongming and Changxing islands.

The new link means a drive from downtown Shanghai to Qidong and some nearby Jiangsu cities will be cut to around one hour, less than one-third the current time needed.

The logistics industry and provincial travelers will benefit from the link across the Yangtze.

For example, Shanghai's container ports in Pudong will be only about 35 minutes' drive away from Qidong.

It will also benefit air travelers heading from Jiangsu to Pudong International Airport.

A drive from Qidong to the Pudong airport will take only 45 minutes, officials said.

Nine provincial coach buses running between Shanghai and Jiangsu, Anhui and Shandong provinces will change their current routes to use the bridge link. Travelers can expect their trips to be reduced by hours.

The link is also expected to attract more Shanghai tourists to Qidong, a city with rich coastal attractions such as a thriving fishing industry and seafood businesses.

Improved traffic will also propel the development of Shanghai's ocean machinery industry, centered on Changxing Island, and attract more tourists to Chongming Island.

Alongside praise for the new link, concerns have been raised that the road could jeopardize the natural wetland environment of Chongming Island because of the increased traffic and people.

The island features precious wetlands and is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including migratory birds. Driving down a highway alongside peaceful wetlands might be enjoyable to the drivers but could be disasters to the plants and animals affected, people argued.

At least 20,000 vehicles a day, mainly cargo trailers, are expected to use the island highway during the early stages, and the number will gradually increase. But officials said efforts have been made via the road's design to reduce its environmental footprint.

Officials said the planned toll charge will be 0.6 yuan per kilometer on the bridge - equal to the rate on other local expressways. The project cost about 8.2 billion yuan.

Bridge Facts:

Length: 52 kilometers

Lanes: six

Benefits to traffic: Reducing a 3.5-hour drive between downtown Shanghai and Qidong to less than one hour.


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