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September 17, 2009

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March 'delivery' for the Bund

THE Bund would complete its "rebirth" and be fully open to tourists and traffic next March, government officials said yesterday.

Thus tourists and locals have to wait another six months to see the dusty construction blocks along the Bund replaced by a grand promenade, which city planners yesterday said would "appear as charming and friendly to tourists as the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris."

About 40 percent more public space will be available along the Bund after construction.

"We addressed each and every concern for tourists when designing the riverside promenade area," Zhou Wei, a Huangpu District official, said yesterday at a government news conference.

"Space on the riverside has been exploited to the very best during renovations to cater for tourists."

The future ground level of the Bund area will be four theme squares all conveniently connected by walkways, the riverside promenade and large areas of greenery.

Traffic lanes will decrease from 11 to six on the outer side of the promenade.

The six lanes will include four to service buses and cars and two for bus stops and temporary parking.

"Traffic passing the Bund area will generally be diverted to underground vehicle thoroughfares, Huang Rong, director of the city's construction commission, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

There will be a large increase in the number of parking spaces around the Bund, while snack stores, toilets and bag lockers will be easily accessible.

Officials said yesterday that they had invited American designer Arturo Di Modica, creator of the Wall Street Bull bronze sculpture to work out Shanghai's "financial bull" design.

This will be symbol of the Bund's financial square on the eastern end of Fuzhou Road.

"The design is still being drafted," said Zhou. "We want it to reflect the vigorous local economy, while incorporating the historic and cultural atmosphere of the Bund."

The 4,900-square-meter area would provide a large screen to telecast live data of stock and foreign currency exchanges markets around the world, officials said.

The history and culture of the city will also be highlighted by art works displayed at the three other public squares around the future Bund area.

Traffic will remain congested as construction continues.


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