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Tunnel opens under Huangpu

An artist's rendition of the Shangzhong Road Tunnel. The southern tube of the Tunnel opened to two-way traffic at 8pm yesterday for a trial.

A vehicle tunnel that runs under the Huangpu River, connecting the Middle Ring Road on each bank opened for a trial run yesterday.


The speed limit in the tunnel is 80 kilometers per hour, faster than any of the other tunnels and bridges now in service in Shanghai.


The Shangzhong Road Tunnel is named after a road near its entrance on the west bank of the river. In Pudong New Area, the tunnel's mouth is close to Jiyang Road.


It comprises two tubes, each with two levels. Each tube has four traffic lanes two on each level.


The southern tube of the tunnel opened to two-way traffic at 8pm yesterday for the trial.


Builders are still completing the interior decoration of the tunnel's other tube. They plan to finish the work by April, when all eight lanes will open.


Motorists living in Xuhui District and the Sanlin area of Pudong will benefit most from the tunnel as it offers a fast route across the Huangpu.


"Before the Shangzhong Road tunnel, the speed limit of vehicle bridges and tunnels in Shanghai was between 40km/h and 60km/h," said Dai Guangming, one of the project's managers.


"Traffic near the eastern end of the tunnel may be slower as some nearby sections of the Middle Ring Road are still being constructed. But we believe traffic will be smooth and reach 80km/h most of the time during the current trial stage of the tunnel's service," Dai said.


Cargo vehicles and two-wheelers are banned from using the tunnel and there's a 4.3-meter vehicle height limit.


The tunnel has been built at a total expense of almost 1.7 billion yuan (US$249 million). It is about 2.8 kilometers long. The construction has been ongoing since December 30, 2003.


(Shanghai Daily January 23, 2009)