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Tunnel makers break through to the other side of Huangpu

MAJOR construction work on the Renmin Road Tunnel, which will connect the Bund with Lujiazui in Pudong New Area of Shanghai, was completed yesterday.

Shanghai Construction Group said one of its tunneling machines broke through to the other side, marking the completion of the tunnel's main structure.

The tunnel will have two passages, each 2,470 meters long and nearly 12 meters wide. On the Puxi side, it starts from the crossing of Huaihai Road E. and Luxiangyuan Road, then stretches east under Remin Road, running beneath Zhongshan Road E2 before diving under the Huangpu River to reach Pudong.

Emerging on the east side of the river, the tunnel runs past the Dongchang Road ferry station and emerges at the crossing of Yincheng Road E. and Pudong Road S.

"The digging machines have passed beneath the floodwall, under both the Shiliupu Dock Project and the Bund underground passage, and the old residential buildings on Renmin Road as well as a century-old drainage pipe in the area," said Zhang Huaping, an official with the group.

"The project's operators have overcome a series of tough challenges and risks and have finally broken through successfully," Zhang said.

The tunnel is expected to open to traffic in the last quarter this year, engineers said.

The future western entrance to the tunnel will be just several hundred meters away from that of the current Yan'an Road E. Tunnel, which has been under increasing pressure as one of the city's oldest vehicle tunnels downtown.

The tunnel opened in the late 1980s and is the city's busiest vehicle passage across the Huangpu River with more than 130,000 vehicles a day.

The tunnel was designed to handle 4,800 vehicles per hour but that is often exceeded during peak hours.

By 2010, there will be 17 vehicle tunnels and bridges in operation across the Huangpu River with 94 lanes of traffic, authorities said.

Currently, seven tunnels, including the Renmin Road Tunnel, are under construction and they are all due to open before the World Expo in 2010.


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