Construction workers lay rails for the Hangzhou-Wenzhou High-speed Railway, which is being partly built by China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp, in Taizhou, on July 3. (WANG HUABIN/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Construction of Zhejiang regional line sees rapid progress toward completion
Buoyed by the nation's efforts to upgrade infrastructure and the participation of State contractors, a high-speed railway building flurry in the Yangtze River Delta region is gathering speed despite the scorching temperatures, with many projects under the regional railway network seen taking accelerated steps toward completion.
The 331-kilometer Hangzhou-Wenzhou High-speed Railway, a direct and faster conduit linking cities between Hangzhou and Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, is one such project, with current construction work mainly focused on station buildings.
"Construction workers have indeed ramped up efforts in the previous preparatory stage to win more time for the current stage, and begin station building construction work along the whole line with a good start," said He Xiao, general manager of Coastal Railway (Zhejiang) Co Ltd, tenderee of the high-speed railway and a unit under local railway operator China Railway Shanghai Group Co Ltd, during an inspection tour of the construction site on Friday.
"Tougher tasks lie ahead so earlier completion of overall track-laying work is the aim of the construction team," said He.
Renovation work at Yongjia Station, which will be renamed Wenzhou North Railway Station after work is completed, and excavation work near Qianshi Mountain, reflect the general manager's sentiments, as these projects are labeled by their builder as the most challenging ones amid the building of the whole railway.
China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp (CR24), the State-owned contractor shouldering the construction of the two projects, said renovating Yongjia Station involves complex and coordinated execution as the team aims to ensure minimum disruptions to the operating railway it will be connected to.
Sometimes construction workers have only been spared a few fleeting hours to work on various procedures simultaneously to guarantee overall progress, CR24 said.
With support from the local railway operator and efforts by the builder, construction is now on a steady track toward launching operations by the end of this year, which will cut the travel time by half, it added.
When it comes to excavation work near Qianshi Mountain, CR24 builders are faced with high-level construction risks due to its location near an operating railway and poor transportation conditions in the mountainous area.
Facing such challenges, He from railway operator Coastal Railway vowed more support for the project team to achieve on-time completion of the entire project, and highlighted better coordination with relevant local government units as key to efficiently addressing such issues.
"The Hangzhou-Wenzhou High-speed Railway will be a significant part of the railway network in the Yangtze River Delta region, and the fastest way for passengers traveling between cities such as Hangzhou, Jinhua, Yiwu and Wenzhou in Zhejiang. Scheduled completion of the railway is a much-anticipated target for all of us," said He.
Upon completion, the railway will connect a wealth of tourism resources in cities along the line and promote coordinated development of the region, he added.
The Yangtze River Delta region, as one of the nation's major business hubs, contributed to 24 percent of its GDP last year.
To fuel the region's integrated development, more than 20 major railway projects are currently under construction, China Railway Shanghai Group said.
In addition, investment in the region stood at 108.9 billion yuan ($15.2 billion) last year alone, with the annual figure surpassing 80 billion yuan for the seventh consecutive year, it said.
"The nation's GDP rose by 6.3 percent in the second quarter compared with a year earlier. Considering the relatively low base last year, the economy is still weighed down by many factors, especially relatively weak domestic demand," said Long Chaocan, an investment consultant with China Galaxy Securities Co Ltd.
"Entering the latter half of the year, infrastructure investment will still be a key pillar shoring up the economy as such projects can boost domestic demand and market confidence," Long said.
The nation's GDP grew by 5.5 percent year-on-year in the first half to 59.3 trillion yuan. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the figure increased by 0.8 percent in the second quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.
Referring to the first-half data, Gong Liutang, a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said it may require a series of policies to boost demand while deepening supply-side structural reforms, such as launching an infrastructure investment plan aimed at improving supply to facilitate consumption upgrading and economic restructuring.
The potential infrastructure plan, perhaps worth more than 1 trillion yuan, should be mainly funded by the central government and private enterprises, with private enterprises given full play as they are key to shoring up investment and stabilizing employment, Gong said.
Jiang Ruicontributed to this story.