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Monday, January 26, 2015, 09:09

Haihe River tunnel opens for trial run

By Bao Wanxian in Tianjin
Haihe River tunnel opens for trial run

North China's first underwater tunnel using immersed tube technology opened for a trial run in Tianjin Binhai New Area on Friday. The New Central Avenue tunnel will help the development of Tianjin Binhai New Area and the integrated growth of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, officials said.

In an area of high seismic activity, the 4.2-kilometer tunnel, also callded the Haihe River tunnel, links three core economic centers of the city - the Yujiapu area on the north bank of the river, and Donggu and Xigu on the south bank.

The tunnel was financed by the Tianjin Binhai New Area Construction and Investment Group and built by the China Railway Construction Corp 18th Bureau. It took six years to build because of the challenges of immersed tube technology.

The technology involves the construction of segments of the tunnel elsewhere before they are floated to the tunnel site, sunk into place and linked together. The technology affords greater resistance to earthquakes.

With six lanes in both directions, the tunnel shortens the driving time from over 20 minutes to just three minutes.

Sui Hongrui, director of the Binhai New Area Central Avenue and Haihe River Tunnel project, said the tunnel will link Central Avenue and Tianjin Avenue to form a high-speed corridor that will play a significant role in boosting the economic development of the area and the central city.

"We met and solved a series of technical problems during the construction to make the tunnel resistant to earthquakes up to a magnitude 8.0," Sui said.

Eighty cameras have been installed along the tunnel to supply traffic information. Escape exits have been built every 100 meters to ensure users' safety.

"Under the integrated development plan for Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, the Haihe River tunnel will be at the center of the Tianjin Free Trade Zone, which will require a highly efficient transport system," said Zou Ying, deputy manager of the integrated management department under the investment promotion bureau of Tianjin Binhai New Area Central Business District.

"It is an upgrade of the existing transportation system in Tianjin, and will drive the economic development of the city and the adjacent regions," said Zou.

Lyu Shuang contributed to this story.

 
 
 
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