House in middle of the road is finally demolished

It took 14 years, but bulldozers have now torn down the three-story Xu family home in Huting Road N. of Jiuting Town.
Cao Lei / Ti Gong
Cao Lei / Ti Gong

Before and after: The house that stood in the middle of the road for 14 years has gone.

A house that had stood in the middle of a road in Songjiang District for more than a decade was finally demolished on Monday morning.

Two bulldozers began tearing down the three-story Xu family home at 12:08am — and the bizarre sight of the house on its own on Huting Road N. in Jiuting Town that has lasted for 14 years, disappeared about an hour and a half later.

The four-lane road had to be squeezed into two lanes to weave round the house. Now, it will be expanded into a continuous four lanes before the New Year festival, said Lu Hui, the relocation office director with the Jiuliting Subdistrict.

Expansion work on the road will start next month and be completed by the end of the year, Lu said. A barrier has been set up around the site of the demolished house to prevent vehicles from driving through, he added.

The road was blocked between midnight and 2am on Monday for the demolishing work and so that trucks could transport away the debris.

Two high-pressure water cannons continuously poured water on the demolition site to reduce flying dust, and all bricks and other materials were cleared by around 6am, an official with the subdistrict said.

One of the lanes of the road section was reopened around 1am with the guidance of traffic police.

“The morning rush has not been affected and no major congestion was caused by the demolishing work,” the official told Shanghai Daily.

Ti Gong

A bulldozer tears down the three-story Xu family home around midnight on Monday, while workers spray water to reduce flying dust.

“It is like cutting off a tumor from an artery,” said Tang Yuyong, deputy director with the subdistrict. The Huting Road N. is the widest street in the area, he added.

The owner of the three-story “nail house,” Xu Yongtao, who is 87 years old, finally agreed to hand over the property early this month, ending a long confrontation with the government over compensation. The family moved out and handed over the key to the house on Friday. (Homes left standing while work proceeds around them are known in China as “nail houses” because they stick out and are difficult to remove.)

The Xu family is set to receive 2.3 million yuan (US$355,000) in cash plus four new apartments. Since the apartments are not yet available, the government has promised to give the family 64,000 yuan a year for them to rent a place to live.

“We have rented a four-bedroom apartment at 4,800 yuan a month to house six people, waiting for the completion of the new apartments,” said 70-year-old Zhang Xinguo, who is Xu’s son-in-law.

“I’m getting old, and my father-in-law is already 87 years old,” Zhang said. “We simply can’t take more of this.”

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Before the house was demolished, it had stood in the middle of the redeveloped Huting Road N. for 14 years.

There had been frequent traffic jams along the road, which was designed to be a main motorway for the area of 100,000 residents, due to the bottleneck around the house.

Several traffic accidents also occurred over the past few years, caused by drivers not being careful enough when navigating the twisted street.

The Xu family home had been dubbed the “most stubborn nail house” in the city over the last decade.

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