BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhua) -- China has suspended the planned construction of a high-speed magnetic levitation train route linking the eastern cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou amid radiation concerns, officials and experts said on Saturday.
"The project has been suspended in line with the arrangements of the municipal government," said a spokesman with the local government of Minhang District in the city's southern suburbs.
An official with the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress confirmed a major reason for the suspension was the radiation concerns from residents living along the proposed route. "The government is working on the issue," he said on condition of anonymity.
Approved by the central government in March 2006, the 35-billion-yuan (4.5 billion U.S. dollars) maglev project using German technology is designed to float 175 km and run at a maximum speed of 450 km per hour.
It was generally believed that the line would operate by 2010,when Shanghai plays host to the World Expo.
The Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev line will be the world's second commercial high-speed maglev track. Shanghai operates the world's only commercial maglev system on a 30-km run between Shanghai's financial district and its Pudong airport.
"The petition office told us early this month the maglev construction and all the relocation plans had been suspended," said Wang Xia (pseudonym), a resident in Xinzhuang township in Minhang. "We had been looking forward to this."
Wang, a 28-year-old expectant mother, began to petition in March, shortly after she learned the maglev route was to traverse her community. "I was worried because the radiation could harm my baby."