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November 1, 2009

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Historic link opens to islands

TRAFFIC began flowing last night on a history-making tunnel-bridge complex that for the first time sets up a direct road link to downtown from Shanghai's two major islands.

As the lights turned on at 5:30pm, the Changjiang Tunnel-Bridge Expressway, named after the Yangtze River which it runs across to connect the city's mainland to its Changxing and Chongming islands, opened to vehicle traffic.

On the first night of service, the bridge appeared as a 10-kilometer magnificent light belt connecting the city's two major islands.

The opening ushered in a new era benefiting both downtown and island residents.

Compared with the sparsely populated Changxing Island, sitting midway on the roadway project, Chongming Island at the end of the construction will experience instant change.

The expressway will make life much easier in terms of traffic to downtown for the nearly 700,000 Chongming islanders. And to countless downtown people, Chongming, Shanghai's largest island, becomes much more accessible for leisure pursuits and work.

The project links Chongming Island via Changxing Island to the Pudong New Area with a 25.5-kilometer expressway, including an under-river tunnel between Pudong and the Changxing Island and a bridge connecting both islands across water.

With an 80-kilometer-per-hour speed limit inside the tunnel and a 100-kilometer-per-hour limit on the cable-stay bridge, a car trip from Chongming to downtown will take only a little longer than one hour.

Traditionally, islanders have had to rely on ferries to commute and an average trip would take nearly two hours in good weather.

Spanning an area where the Yangtze River pours into the East China Sea, a special light design has been used to enhance the bridge, said the city construction authority.

Drivers will find the side facing the East China Sea equipped with blue LED lights while the other side of the expressway near the Yangtze River is decorated with yellow LED lighting.

The bridge expressway also provides drivers with a magnificent view over all of Shanghai's three major islands as well as the under-construction Qingcaosha Reservoir being built to increase the quality of local water.

The upper level is now open for vehicle traffic while the lower level is reserved for a planned Metro route to the islands.

The car toll is 20 yuan (US$2.93) for the tunnel and 30 yuan for the bridge but it is free to transit buses.

The first two transit bus lines between downtown and the islands are scheduled to start service later this month.


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