A church in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, is being moved back to its original site six years after it was relocated to make way for a tunnel project.
The city's only German church, built in 1882, stands on Xinyi Road, Fangcun Avenue. In 2008, it was moved 26 meters south of its original site as it stood in the way of the Zhoutouju tunnel project. The construction of the tunnel is about to be completed.
The relocation operation started on Sunday. A grid of steel beams has been installed beneath the church to maintain its structural stability as it is pushed along on rails by nine jacks.
The jacks generate 450 metric tons of thrust and can move the building 15 centimeters with every push.
The historic church has already been moved 8 meters, and is scheduled to reach its final position on Wednesday.
The 2008 relocation cost 3 million yuan ($490,000). The equipment employed then is being used again, and this will reduce the cost by half.
Gu Weiping, general manager of Luban Construction Group, the company carrying out the operation, said moving the entire structure at once is the most effective method.
"It would have been difficult, costly and risky if we had carried out the tunnel construction under the church without moving it away," Gu said.
The church is surrounded by steel scaffolding, and the walls are being protected by wooden planks.
Each time after the church is moved, technicians check data and examine the structure to ensure it has not been damaged.
Restoration work will be carried out after the church has been returned to the original site, and it will then be opened to the public again.
A number of other historic buildings have been moved to new sites.
In 2008, a cathedral built more than 70 years ago in Fuzhou, Fujian province, was moved 75.6 meters by six jacks.
"It is inevitable that some old buildings will be in areas earmarked for construction projects as a city develops," Gu said. "We are glad to see the government putting more efforts into protecting these cultural relics, and more advanced technologies offer effective means to protect them."