|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
The project has been implemented over seven years starting in late 2003. Civil works of the project consisted of 25 international competitive bidding (ICB) packages (W1-W25, including track laying), 17 national competitive bidding packages. ADB approved advance procurement action on 12 May 2003 to expedite civil works. Contracts for civil works were awarded in four batches during the period from September to December 2004 and construction commenced subsequently. By end 2007, subgrades and most bridges, tunnels, and culverts were completed. The overall progress was prolonged by the construction of Qiyueshan Tunnel (10.5km), which is at one of the most difficult topographies along YWR. By December 2009, this tunnel was through, causing delays of the overall construction schedule by one year. The track laying started from the Yichang end in June 2008, and from the Wanzou end in November 2008 and completed in August 2010. Buildings and ancillary facilities were implemented simultaneously to match the implementation schedule of subgrade works. Buildings construction, electrification, signaling, and telecommunication works were completed in October 2010. Provisional acceptance was issued by MOR on 25 November 2010. Trial operation started on 22 December 2010. The final acceptance of the project facilities is expected in end 2011.
ADB financed two packages in amount of $88.52 million for materials, including concrete girder/beams, sleepers, steal bearings, fastenings, and turnouts. These packages were procured following ICB and awarded during April 2006 to June 2007.
Track Maintenance Equipment
ADB financed a package of equipments for mechanized track maintenance, containing ballast tamping machines (8 sets), track stabilizer cars (5 sets), fixed track welding machines (1 set), ballast regulating machine (2 Sets) and on-track undercutting ballast cleaning machines (3 Sets). This package, in amount of $27.01 million, was procured following ICB and awarded in January 2005.
ADB financed the consulting services to develop the Guidelines for the Appraisal of Railway Investment Projects. The guidelines introduced international best practices in economic and financial appraisal methodologies and applied them in the context of Chinese Railway investment approval process. Training was also provided for MOR staff and staff from railway administrations on application of the guidelines. This component improved MOR's capacity to use quantitative methods in project appraisal and decision making.
Trial Operation of YWR started in 22 December 2010 after MOR completed the preliminary check on construction quality, and transportation safety assessment. The 5 pairs of freight trains and 14 pairs of passenger trains are being operated on YWR for the initial state. YWR had carried 1.55 million of passengers during the period from 23 December 2010 to 30 March 2011. Equipment installed for telecommunication, signal, electrification, and traffic control system were found in good condition. The design speeds of 160km/h and 120km/h are all achieved. No accident had happened since the start of trial operation.
The YWRCH confirmed that the environmental management plan (EMP) and monitoring program have been implemented in terms of the environment impact assessment (EIA) during construction and adverse environmental impacts have been mitigated effectively. YWRCH established effective institutions to implement the EMP and the soil erosion protection plan (SEPP) during construction. Beijing OASIS was engaged to oversee the overall project environment monitoring. Local environment monitoring stations were engaged to undertake onsite monitoring of surface water quality, air and noise. The Soil and Water Conservation Monitoring Station of the Yangtze River Commission was contracted to monitor the soil erosion as per the SEPP. The FSDI was engaged to supervise the EMP and SEPP implementation. This is the first case in the railway development to engage a qualified entity to supervise EMP implementation.
Land Acquisition and Resettlement
Land acquisition and resettlement activities began in late 2003 and were largely completed by end 2005. In total, 15,498 mu of land were permanently acquired, which was 5% less than the estimation in the resettlement plan. A total of 628,748 m2 of buildings were demolished, which was 40% more than the estimation in the resettlement plan. The number of displaced persons was 12,336, which was 31% less than estimation. In addition, a total of 10,264 mu lands were temporarily borrowed during YWR construction. A total of CNY649.44 million of land acquisition and resettlement costs were disbursed, which increased 93% than CNY336.63 million estimated in the resettlement plan.
Social Development and Poverty Reduction Impact
Construction of YWR has significantly contributed to regional socioeconomic development. A total of CNY 27.6 billion project investment in the project area within six years has strongly stimulated local industrial development, particularly in construction materials, energy, as well as services sector. The statistical data shows that socioeconomic conditions in the project area have improved rapidly in recent years. From 2003 to 2009, the GDP growth in project areas ranged from 108% to 299%. With the project area's rapid socioeconomic growth and the increased fiscal revenue of the local governments, the standard of livelihood and incomes of local people have been significantly improved. That is particular the case for the poor.
Preliminary Overall Assessement
The project has achieved its main objectives of removing transport barriers, reducing transport and logistics costs, and promoting pro-poor economic and social development in the poverty-stricken regions. The construction and operation of YWR has significantly contributed to regional socioeconomic development. The project provided the railway infrastructure in the un-served region composing the east part of Hubei, and the east part of Sichuan and Chongqing. It established an important missing link in the railway network and released the transport bottlenecks on the east-west corridor and provides a new access of transport for the western region. It significantly reduces the cost of transport and provides economic opportunities for those less developed areas in Hubei, Sichuan provinces, and Chongqing Municipality. Significant traffic diversion is taking place from road, waterway, and airlines to YWR for its economic, safe and reliable transportation.