China has opened its first subway line to cross the Yangtze River, connecting Wuchang and Hanku, the two major urban areas of the city of Wuhan.
Wuhan subway’s 21-station Line 2 spans 27.73km, with trains taking 50 minutes to travel the line at an average speed of 36km/h.
The line features an underwater tunnel under the Yangtze, allowing trains to cross China’s longest river in three minutes.
Wuhan Metro Group Construction manager Lin Wenshu, who was in charge of construction, said the construction of the underwater tunnel was the most difficult part of the project.
"The geographic situation under the Yangtze River is very complicated," Wenshu said. "In order to ensure safety, we took a lot of protective measures and used a large number of skilled workers to prevent ground collapses and avoid underground gases."
The Yangtze River tunnel spans about 3,000m and features five escape routes.
The new line is expected to manage half of the city’s cross-Yangtze traffic flow, which used to depend on bridges over the river.
The line’s 26 trains are planned to be operated every six minutes, carrying at least 500,000 passengers a day.
According to estimates, the construction of the new subway line cost CNY14.9bn ($2.37bn).