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Hangzhou plans second West Lake tunnel

HANGZHOU city government plans to dig another tunnel beneath the West Lake to ease heavy traffic flows.

The nine-kilometer tunnel is set to begin construction after June next year, when UNESCO will vote on whether to register West Lake as a world culture heritage site, a source from Hangzhou Construction Commission told Oriental Morning Post today.

The United Nations' site evaluation for West Lake is scheduled around August this year and will be voted on in Bahrain next June, the report said.

"Any impact on world heritage application is the last thing we want," an anonymous commission official said. The commission consulted heritage experts about the tunnel project, with some saying the project would help protect the lake by drawing away traffic from the Zhejiang Province landmark.

About 500,000 people live in Hangzhou's west, with many traveling south of the city to work. The tunnel would ease traffic through the central business district.

The 5.66-square-kilometer West Lake and scenic area lie to the west of Hangzhou.

The existing Hubin Road Tunnel was built in 2002. The new tunnel will have four vehicle lanes with four kilometers under the lake. There are 550,000 vehicles in Hangzhou, 5.5 times the number in 2001.


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