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Three Gorges to reopen today

Shanghai: The lock of the Three Gorges dam is expected to reopen today after a couple days closure due to the extreme flooding seen around the upper reaches of the Yangtze.

The Yangtze River Three Gorges Navigational Bureau halted two-way traffic at the Three Gorges ship lock at 8:00 am on Monday as water influx into the dam measured an alarming 51,000 cubic meters per second, a result of continuous rainfall in the upper reaches, said Shi Huili, a traffic control officer with the bureau.

Wanzhou and Wushan in the Three Gorges Dam area received an average 100 mm of rainfall on Sunday, causing the water influx into the dam to soar to 46,000 cubic meters per second at 2:00 am on Monday.

For safety considerations, the national bureau has to close down the ship lock when the water influx exceeds 45,000 cubic meters per second.

About 170 ships pass the ship lock every day, including at least 30 passenger ships carrying tourists to the world's biggest water control facility.

The lock, 6.4 km long and costing 6.2 billion yuan (US$775 million), was built into the mountainous terrain on the northern bank of the Yangtze and has been the only navigable route past the dam since 2003.  [01/08/07]

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