Aerial photo taken on April 13, 2020 shows people riding bikes on the road of Donghu greenway in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. (Xinhua/Cheng Min)

Wuhan begins construction of tunnel-crossing beneath lakes

Wuhan began construction of a lake-crossing tunnel project on Tuesday, as life and work gradually return to normalcy in the virus-ravaged Chinese city.

The crossing will include two double-deck tunnels under the lakes of Donghu and Nanhu, connected by an aboveground road. With 13.3 km dug by tunnel-boring machines and a maximum boring diameter of 15.5 meters, it is expected to be the largest tunnel-crossing beneath a city lake in China.

The tunnel project is expected to be an engineering challenge, as it will cross highly complicated sub-lake strata, according to Wuhan Urban Construction Investment & Development Group, the company in charge of construction.

The project will take four years to finish. Upon completion, it is expected to ease traffic congestion in Wuchang District.

The company said it will implement a series of precautions to minimize the project’s environmental impact on the lakes.

Both construction and production have picked up steam in Wuhan since the city completed a 19-day drive to test nearly 10 million people for COVID-19 in early June, with the aim of reassuring the public as the city moves to reopen factories, businesses and schools.

The city has reported no new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.