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November 23, 2010

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Expressway makes allowances for local wildlife

AN expressway linking Shanghai's Chongming Island to Jiangsu Province's Qidong City is being built with local wildlife in mind, says a construction company working on the scheme.

The six-lane project includes three parts: an expressway running across Chongming Island; a bridge spanning the Yangtze River and a road stretching to Qidong City.

It is due to open at the end of next year - six months ahead of schedule.

Concerns had been raised about the threat the project posed to the environment, as Chongming Island features the city's only natural wetland, which is home to many species of animals and is used by migrating birds.

Local constructor Shanghai Urban Construction Group said strenuous efforts have been made to reduce the impact on the environment.

To protect island wildlife, which includes snakes, frogs, ducks and rabbits, the route of the expressway has been altered to avoid areas where many species live, said Lu Xinhua, manager of the project's local section with the constructor.

"The expressway on the island has been lengthened by about 10 kilometers because of detours to avoid routes of wild animals' habitats," Lu said yesterday.

Guardrails and lighting posts along the route have been painted in bright colors and rails lowered from their normal height to help prevent migrating birds from hitting them, Lu said.

Shanghai Urban Construction Group has also collected sand and silt from the mouth of the Yangtze River for the construction project.

As a consequence, builders did not have to take 840,000 cubic meters of soil from the island - meaning 333,500 square meters of farming land is saved, Lu said.

This is the first time a Chinese construction company has used sands from a river bed to construct a highway in order to avoid taking soil from elsewhere, the constructor said.

The eco-friendly practice will be used in future projects, according to the construction company.

Once complete, the expressway is expected to relieve heavy traffic pressure in Shanghai and neighboring Jiangsu Province.

It should reduce the travel time from Shanghai to Qidong to one hour from more than three hours at the moment.

The speed limit on the local section is planned at 100 kilometers per hour, while in Jiangsu Province it will be 120 km/h.

It stretches 52 kilometers, including the 31 kilometer local part on Chongming Island.

The Chongming-Qidong expressway will also become part of the G40 national expressway, which starts at Shanghai and ends at Xi'an City in the northwestern Shaanxi Province.

By yesterday, 60 percent of work on the island road section had been completed, said the constructor.


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