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September 30, 2009

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Xi'an to boost public transport with subway line

A SUBWAY line is being built in the historic city of Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, local officials said yesterday.

The city's first subway line, the No. 2 metro line, runs south to north under two 600-year-old sites - the Ancient City Wall and the Bell Tower - said Xiang De, deputy director of the Shaanxi Provincial Administration of Cultural Heritage.

"We carried out a detailed safety assessment before construction to minimize hazards to cultural relics," Xiang said. "So far, the settlement of earth works is far below our expectation."

About 26 million yuan (US$3.8 million) has been invested in the protection of cultural relics during subway construction, said Luo Jifeng, chief engineer of Xi'an Subway Co Ltd.

Construction on the No.2 line began in 2007. It is expected to be completed in 2011, Xiang said.

"The subway will improve the city's transportation and promote economic and social development," Xiang added.

Along the subway route are 57 historic sites. Since 2005, archaeologists have excavated 130 ancient tombs containing more than 200 cultural relics, Xiang said.

Xi'an's history dates back more than 3,000 years and it was the capital of 13 dynasties.

Six subway lines with a total length of 251 kilometers are scheduled to be built in Xi'an by 2020.

Famous historic sites along the six lines include the ruins of both Chang'an City and Daming Palace.


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