Beiheng Passage reaches key milestone on path to full opening in 2024
The Beiheng Passage, a new east-west thoroughfare in Shanghai, has achieved another significant milestone as construction progresses towards its completion in early 2024.
A 15-meter mega-shield machine successfully broke through a crucial section of the project on Anguo Road in Hongkou District on Monday, marking the completion of 90 percent of the digging for the eastern section, according to Shanghai Chengtou Highway Investment Group, the main builder of the project.
The western part of the passage, located in the downtown area, has already opened and has helped alleviate congestion between the Beihong Road roundabout on the Middle Ring Road and the Tianmu Road roundabout on the busy South-North Elevated Highway.
Once completed, the 19.1-kilometer road will connect Changning, Putuo, Jing'an, Huangpu, Hongkou, and Yangpu districts, forming part of the city's plan to establish three east-west and three north-south thoroughfares to improve traffic flow.
With the passage, drivers will be able to reach Hongqiao International Airport from northern Yangpu District in just 30 minutes, compared to the current travel time of at least an hour.
The east-west passage primarily aims to enhance the connection between the Hongqiao transport hub and the Pudong New Area. It is expected to boost the vibrancy of the downtown area while accelerating development in the city's northern districts, according to the group.
Significant relief is anticipated for traffic congestion on the parallel Yan'an Road Elevated Highway and the northern section of the city's Inner Ring Road. The newly-opened west section of the passage has provided drivers with an alternative route.
The passage will play a key role in the integrated traffic network of the Yangtze River Delta region. It connects with the Shanghai-Changzhou Expressway through the Beidi Road Tunnel and the Elevated Highway, providing a fast channel for vehicles traveling from neighboring Jiangsu Province to downtown Shanghai and Pudong.
The ongoing construction of the eastern section, stretching 8.2km between Wenan Road in Jing'an and Zhoujiazui and Neijiang Roads in Yangpu, is set to be completed by December 2023, the group said.
Two shield machines, including the largest one in Shanghai, are simultaneously digging from both ends for the eastern section.
The largest shield machine, named "Zongheng" (meaning "vertical and horizontal"), was previously used to dig the tunnel for the western part of the passage. It successfully crossed over 100 buildings, five Metro lines, and the Suzhou Creek four times.
For the eastern section, the "Zongheng" shield machine began its mission in December 2021 from Huangxing Road in Yangpu and reached Yangshupu Port in July 2022. After a brief pause, it resumed operations and accomplished the excavation between Yangshupu Port and Anguo Road on Monday.
Navigating the densely populated underground area of the city center, with its numerous structures and pipelines, presented challenges for the shield machine, according to the group.
In November 2022, "Zongheng" successfully passed beneath the operational Metro Line 18 in just three days.
One of the most demanding tasks was digging beneath Metro Line 4 at the intersection of Zhoujiazui and Baoding Roads in April 2023, where the machine set four national records, including the steepest slope and sharpest curve for such a large shield machine.
The tunnel structure for the eastern section is expected to be completed by the year's end, paving the way for its opening to traffic in the first half of next year, as confirmed by Huang Guobin, chairman of the group.