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Major bottleneck to middle Yangtze River transport cleared
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08:27, December 22, 2008

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A four-year project to widen and deepen the Luohuzhou section of the Yangtze River was completed on Sunday in central China's Hubei Province, allowing a 10,000 tonne grade fleet to pass through the former bottleneck.

The central government's budget of 133 million yuan (19.4 million U.S. dollars) resulted in a comprehensive clearance of the section in the middle reaches of Yangtze.

The width of section ranges from 350 m to 510 m, and the depth could reach 4.5 m in dry seasons, said Peng Songbai, a Wuhan-based Yangtze River Waterway Bureau official.

From now on, 5,000-tonne ships and 10,000-tonne cargo ship fleets can pass the 12-km section which had infrequently stranded heavyweight fleets going to Wuhan, the largest city in central China, according to the acceptance report by the Transportation Ministry.

There are more than 40 major shallow water areas or rocks hindering transport on the Yangtze, the world's busiest waterway. More than 20 are in the middle reaches.

China invested 1.7 billion yuan last year to clear eight shallow sections in the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze. It planned to remove others by 2010.

The 6,300 km Yangtze River is a major transport link between west, central and east China. More than 1,100 million tonnes of cargo were shipped on the river last year.

Source: Xinhua

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