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Beijing's Garden Expo ready for trial run on Sunday

By Jin Haixing (China Daily)

08:40, May 07, 2013

Tour guides walk past the Yongding Tower in the Garden Expo site in Beijing on Friday. The event will open on May 18, while trial operations will start on Sunday. (China Daily/Kuang Linhua)

>> Garden Expo Park to be unveiled in Beijing

The Ninth China (Beijing) International Garden Expo is ready for its trial run on Sunday, now that construction work is done, authorities said on Friday.

The expo is planned to kick off on May 18, but the Yongding Tower, one of the event's main attractions, will not open to the public as scheduled on Sunday because of the April 8 fire that destroyed part of the building, authorities said. Officials said the tower will also not be ready in time for the expo's May 18 opening.

Yang Guang, a spokeswoman for Fengtai district, where the expo will take place, said: "The normal operation of the expo will not be influenced by the Yongding Tower fire."

The trial run on Sunday will allow selected groups of visitors to take a look at the expo, which will have 47 exhibits from 69 cities.

The expo includes a "creative exhibition" area, where nine exhibits designed by famous domestic and overseas gardening designers will be on display.

The event is expected to improve the environment and traffic conditions in Beijing's southwestern area, especially the two sides of the Yongding River in Fengtai district.

On Sunday, the western section of the Beijing Subway's new Line 14 will open in time to serve the trial run, after the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport held a final appraisal conference on the line on Friday, said Yan Zhihe, a publicity official of Beijing MTR Construction Administration Corp.

The 12.4-km line will link the Garden Expo Park in Fengtai with the city's metro system. At the same time, 24.2 km of roads are being built nearby to support the expo.

Meanwhile, the fire that damaged Yongding Tower has made the structure inaccessible indefinitely.

Yang, the Fengtai district spokeswoman, said that workers are still repairing the lower part of the tower, and she did not give a timetable for its opening.

The tower caught fire at around 3 pm on April 8, and the fire was extinguished at about 7:15 pm. No casualties were reported.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, one of the organizers, said the investigation pointed to hot work as the cause of the blaze, which destroyed part of the tower.

Meng Yao, a college student from Shaanxi province who works as a volunteer for the expo, said she learned that the tower will open to visitors as soon as the repair work is finished, but exhibition items will be removed for security concerns.

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