Tuesday, 8 April, 2008

XIAMEN TO BUILD CHINA'S FIRST SUBMARINE TUNNEL BY 2009

Xiamen, a city in Southeastern China's Fujian Province, plans to build the country's first submarine tunnel with a total investment of CNY 3.2 billion.The tunnel project is also the first of this kind designed independently by domestic experts and will become the third path to link Xiamen and the mainland Fujian Province.China Railway Construction Bureaus Group 18th has singed a contract with the municipal government to fulfill the project.According to Zheng Shanjie, director of the Xiamen municipal development and reform commission, the city is expected to begin construction of the country's first submarine tunnel this May after years of preparation. Known as the Eastern Passage, the submarine tunnel will be the third passage linking Xiamen Island with the mainland.

Earlier in February, a feasibility study report was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission. Initial project examination and approval has been completed while preliminary design as well as public utilities construction and site formation work are underway. About Rmb3.06 billion is required for the project, of which Rmb2.6 billion comes from a syndicated loan provided by the Bank of China comprising the Agricultural Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Development Bank.

In addition to being the first submarine tunnel in China, the Eastern Passage is also the first of its kind designed by domestic experts. Situated in the east of Xiamen Island, the tunnel will connect with two roads, namely Xianyue and Huandao currently under construction on the island, and go under water off Xiamen's northeastern coast. It will then extend under water to the west of Xiangan district, joining the Xiangan thoroughfare now under construction and the planned highway along the eastern coast. The tunnel will be about 9 km long with 6 km under the sea.

Upon completion, the tunnel will join Xiamen Bridge and Haicang Bridge respectively in the north and west of the island to form a road network connecting with the mainland. This will, to a large extent, optimise Xiamen Islands traffic and improve its road network along with that of Fujian province, creating more development space for Xiamen and fostering cross-Strait exchange.

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