Bigger and better: The Bund is back
The mess, congested roads and bulldozers on the Bund are finally gone. After 33 months and US$70 million of renovations, the Bund is back in its groove with a face lift and ready to greet the masses as Shanghai's answer to Paris' Champs-Elysees. The city is the Paris of the East after all.
Just in time for spring, on March 28 the city opened the new 2,000-meter riverside promenade as well as the underground roadways to cope with all the pesky Bund traffic. The walkway restoration is a major part of Shanghai's RMB 300 billion investment for the 2010 Expo.
"There is now a much wider promenade and the 11-lane highway in front of the buildings has been cut down to four lanes, which is what it was like in the 1930s," says Peter Hibbard, the author of "The Bund: Shanghai Faces West" to the Telegraph. "The traffic has been diverted into an underground tunnel, while trees have been planted along the banks of the river and 2,000 park benches installed."
For some though, the new Bund is more than the number of car lanes. Wei Shengyong, an 80-year-old resident, says: "We old Shanghainese all have a special place in our hearts for the Bund. I feel consoled that it has been turned into what it is today."
Although the new walkway will be a vast improvement over what was there before, don’t expect the crowds to magically disappear. If you watch the video clip (below) above of opening weekend, the new Bund if anything draws bigger crowds than before. The new Bund area can accommodate up to 800,000 visitors on peak days although numbers are expected to level off around the 300,000 mark.