Government authorities in Zhejiang province on east China's seaboard have finally announced that the construction of its section of a much-discussed magnetic levitation train route linking the eastern cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou will go ahead in 2010.
This timing is three years later than the original construction schedule.
Construction of this high-speed maglev project, however, has been postponed time and again amid radiation concerns. It is not clear why the scheme has now got the go-ahead.
In accordance with an action plan of the provincial government regarding construction of key projects for 2008-2012 period, this affluent Chinese province is determined to complete the Zhejiang part of the maglev project in five years starting 2010 at a cost of 22 billion yuan ($3.14 billion).
Preparatory work, including establishment of a special office for affairs related to the maglev project construction, assessment of land acquisition, site selection, as well as study of environmental impact should be done by the end of this year.
The action plan says that the Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev project will now be 199.43 km long, nearly 25 km longer than previously reported. Of the total, 103.55 km will be inside Zhejiang.
Approved by the central government in March 2006, the 35-billion-yuan maglev project using German technology is originally designed to run at a maximum speed of 450 km per hour, of which 105 km will be in Zhejiang. Traveling speed of maglev trains is limited to be no more than 200 km per hour in downtown areas of cities.
In accordance with an early construction schedule, the maglev project would begin construction in 2007, get completion in 2008 and start trial operation in 2009 before a formal operation by 2010, when Shanghai plays host to the World Expo.
The action plan, which was distributed to government departments at lower levels inside Zhejiang over the weekend, also set a timetable for construction of another high-speed railway line, reserved for passenger transport only, between Shanghai and Hangzhou.