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Nanjing Metro Line 5 Setbacks; Too Many Relics in The Way

Wikimedia: Tripjest69

At some point in the not so distant future, Nanjing’s metro line 5 will need to be in place under Shanghai Lu. Such a prospect has speculation running rife among those who live and work along this essential and much beloved city communication corridor.

The street has also long been a staple of Nanjing’s foreign community. In addition to the many international students enrolled at Nanjing University and Nanjing Normal University, Shanghai Lu sees people from all walks of life come to enjoy its extensive range of eating and drinking options. Such revelry shall soon be significantly inconvenienced when construction begins on Line 5’s Wutai Shan station at the junction of Shanghai Lu and Guangzhou Lu.

Traffic in the area, which can never be described as free flowing, is set to be reduced to chaos and carnage.

As with line 4 which runs underneath Beijing Lu, what with all the government institutions that dot its path along with the much loved Plane trees that caused so much outcry when many were uprooted (in all fairness, to be replanted elsewhere, the authorities claimed) for Line 3, so the government cannot risk the same kind of disruption when Line 5 runs through Nanjing’s most densely populated area.

This all makes Line 5 a massive engineering challenge.

From north to south, the line shall run for 37.4km, from nearby the infamous Yangtze River Bridge, all the way to Jiangning district nearby to the Hohai University Campus, with a total of 30 stations (see full station list below).

Such an undertaking will inevitably have challenges presented upon it. In addition to the potential massive disruption to the not insignificant portion of the Nanjing populace that rely on the Shanghai Lu corridor on a daily basis, the line has to contend with Nanjing’s status as one of the four “Ancient Capitals”.

When people aren't in the way, history is.

Right after cutting through the very heart of Nanjing, Line 5 then meets Chaotian Gong, a Ming Dynasty imperial palace. Metro regulations state that there must be at least two tunnel diameters (12.4 m) between a metro tunnel and any cultural relic; any less and it is feared vibrations from both construction and trains running may damage the city’s cultural heritage.

The Yangtze Evening Post, one of the biggest newspapers in the world by circulation, reports that of particular concern is the construction of the line as it next passes by the former site of the Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank at the junction of Taiping Lu and Jiankang Lu. Now a branch of the ICBC, the unique triangular architecture of the building and the story of the bank itself have strong links to the Republican era, a time fiercely protected by local authorities.

Local government will need to drum up as much patriotism as it can among the Nanjing Metro planners; one can almost taste the engineers’ dismay upon being told they may need to move the tunnel… three metres to the left.

It all means that the target of a 2020 opening for Line 5 is becoming clouded in doubt.

The full station list for Nanjing Metro Line 5 (from north to south) is as follows.

Fangjia Ying, Nanjing West Railway Station, Jianning Lu, Xiaguan, Yancang Qiao, Fujian Lu, Hong Qiao, Shanxi Lu, Yunnan Lu (intersection with Line 4), Wutai Shan, Shanghai Lu (intersection with Line 2), Chaotian Gong, Sanshan Jie (intersection with Line 1), Fuzi Miao (intersection with Line 3), Dazhong Qiao, Guanghua Men, Xiaotiantang, Qi Weng, Jichang Lu, Dajiao Chang, Chalu Kou, Chengbei Lu, Shangyuan Da Jie, Xinting Lu, Zhushan Lu (intersection with Line 1), Kening Lu, Qian Zhuang, Cheng Xin Da Dao (intersection with Line 3), Jiulong Hu Xi and Jilin Da Dao.

The self-imposed timeline for the development of the Nanjing Metro system calls for Lines 5, 6, 7, 9 and 11, as well as four more so called inter-city “S” routes; S3, S6, S7 and S9, to be in place by 2022. Of these, Lines 5, 7, S3, S7 and S9 are presently under construction, with the latter three slated for opening in late 2017 or early 2018.

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