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New subway line a boost for Beijing

The Beijing municipal government has approved the construction of subway Line 15, which is expected to start within the year.


The approval was confirmed by a document, dated Tuesday and posted on the Website of the Beijing Municipal Committee of Urban Planning.


According to the plan, Line 15 will run west to east over 45.7 kilometers, of which 32 kilometers will be beneath the ground.


Line 15 will be between northern Ring Road 4 and 5. It will start from Xiyuan in Haidian District and end east of Chaobai River in Shunyi District in the eastern suburbs. There will be 21 stops.


It will be built in two stages. The east section of the subway between Wangjing West Station and Hedong Station in Shunyi will be built first.


Line 15 will be finished in 2015.


When it is finished, Line 15 will help alleviate transport pressure on areas around the Olympic Common Domain, where the famous Bird's Nest, or National Stadium, and the Water Cube, or National Aquatic Center, are sited, BMCUP said in the document.


Other details about Line 15, such as the cost and term, are not available at the moment.


Beijing has 200 kilometers of subways in service, most of which are in the northern part of the city.


It is determined to vigorously expand track transport in the years to come and is hoping to form a subway network supported by 19 separate lines totaling 561 kilometers by 2015.


The city's spending on infrastructure projects alone will top 160 billion yuan (US$23.5 billion) this year, and Line 15 is included on the spending list, said Liu Yinchun, deputy chief of the municipal committee of development and reform.


By 2015, a total of 8.8 million daily trips, or a quarter of the total journeys made by residents in downtown areas, will be undertaken by metro, compared to the current 3.8 million daily trips.


The national capital will spend 51.8 billion yuan in track transport development this year.


Line 4, a north-to-south subway under construction, is expected to be completed and put into service this year. This will increase the length of Beijing's subways in service to 230 kilometers.


(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2009)