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April 11, 2013

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Metro to control subsidence with high-tech tags

SHANGHAI subway builders said they would closely monitor and control ground subsidence and leaks during construction by tagging tunnel materials and tracing the construction process.

The tagging of tunnel duct pieces using Radio Frequency Identification Device technology is being done at a construction site for Line 12 in downtown Xuhui District, according to the builder, Shanghai Urban Construction Group.

RFID is a system that transmits the identity in the form of a unique serial number of an object or person wirelessly, using radio waves.

Data on leaks, cracks and subsidence will be delivered to engineers for analysis and adjustment, construction officials said.

"With the ongoing construction, the collected data can help guide future work to avoid safety hazards," said Xu Yunhai, a project manager on the construction site on Longhua Road M.

Xu said the workers collect data every day via handheld devices during construction.

Tags on tunnel materials also include specifications on the products once they leave the factory.

"The information will also be useful after the construction is done and the tunnel is turned over to the Metro operator," said Xu.

The methods are expected to be used on other subway lines and tunnel projects.

Three lines and subway sections will be finished and put into service this year, adding to the current 12 lines that handle 6 to 7 million passengers a day.

The city has long been affected by problems due to soft soil and increasing construction projects, even some landmark ones like the rising Shanghai Tower.

Residents have complained about cracks in their houses due to subsidence caused by nearby construction projects.

Shanghai plans to set up ground subsidence alert standards soon to further monitor problems and take preventative measures.

The alert system is expected to be applied to subsidence caused by activities like groundwater mining and construction, said urban planning authorities.

The subsidence evaluation reports will become open to the public in a timely manner.


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