The tunnels will contain pipes for power, water, heating, telecommunication, gas and other systems crucial to urban life.
The project is expected to eliminate overhead lines and solve the problem of city streets being repeatedly dug up for construction purposes. A further aim is to improve the urban landscape.
A State Council document issued yesterday said that, starting this year, the government should make sure that development of underground utility tunnels should be carried out at the same time as the construction of roads in new districts, industrial parks and development zones.
Older areas are also being addressed, with authorities requested to plan underground tunnels at the same time as projects such as road reconstruction and river works.
The central government will arrange financial support through current channels, while local administrations should pump more funds into the construction of the utility tunnels.
Businesses are also being encouraged to invest in the construction and operation of such tunnels through innovation in investment and funding modes and the public-private partnership model.