GUANGZHOU: The construction of a number of subway lines will either continue or start in Guangzhou this year, marking a busy year in the plan to open nine lines by 2010, when the Asian Games are held in the city.
Metro projects planned to be completed this year include the extension at the Pazhou end of Line 2, the Kecun-Guangzhou East Railway Station section of Line 3, and the section of Line 4 linking up University City, according to the government of this capital of South China's Guangdong Province.
Construction is expected to start full scale on lines 4 and 5 this year, and the city will strive to start building experimental sections of lines 6, 8 and the airport line. Preliminary work will continue on the line linking Guangzhou and the neighbouring city of Foshan.
Spending on lines 3, 4 and 5 alone this year will amount to 3.3 billion yuan (US$398 million), to be paid by government funds and bank loans, according to the Guangzhou Municipal Development and Reform Commission.
When all the lines are completed by 2010, the subway network in Guangzhou will be about 255 kilometres long.
The subway system is seen by the municipal government as an important way to ease the mounting traffic pressure on the roads, and makes up part of the plan for an overall facelift of the city before the 2010 Asian Games. It is intended to shorten travelling time as the urban area expands.
The permanent population in Guangzhou exceeds 10 million. Average daily traffic on subway lines 1 and 2 topped 450,000 passengers last year, according to the Guangzhou Metro Corp, which is wholly owned by the government.
The two lines, with a combined length of 37 kilometres, carried 640,000 passengers per day on average during the week-long May 1 holiday, setting a daily record of 890,000 passengers on May 1.
Line 3, totalling 36 kilometres and 18 stations when completed in 2006, will become the first line on the Chinese mainland able to run at speeds of 120 kilometres per hour, according to Guangzhou Metro Corp.
Meanwhile, Guangzhou intends to build a light railway linking Guangzhou East Railway Station and the New Zhujiang Town, which is expected to be the city's urban centre in coming years, according to the Guangzhou Municipal Construction Commission.
"However, the railway construction plan is only in its initial stages, and whether it will be built above or below ground has not yet been decided," said Chen Rugui, director of the commission.
"The railway, if finally decided, will be included in the city's planned metropolitan rail system and completed by 2010."
(China Daily 05/19/2005 page3)