The core technical proposal for the 16.2km tunnel passed an assessment by a panel of experts headed by Mr Qian Qihu, an academic from the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

The line will run through the tunnel and several bridges via Jintang Island, with separate bores providing road and rail connections. With a maximum depth of 78m and a diameter of 14m, the tunnel will require a 10.87km shield.

Trains on the line will operate at speeds of 250km/h, reducing Ningbo - Zhoushan travel times from 1h 30min by road to 30 minutes by rail. Hangzhou - Zhoushan travel times will be reduced to 1h 20min.

Construction is expected to start later this year, with the project due to take six to seven years to complete.

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