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Huge investment in Qinghai road network

19 December 2012
Qinghai transport authorities announced on 17 December that the province’s total highway length had exceeded 100,000km and a network of high-grade roads across the Tibetan Plateau had been established. This is a major achievement considering that 10 years ago there were no expressways in the region and only 18km of Grade I roads; most roads that did exist at the time were sandy or muddy paths, according to transport officials.

Most of the province lies at an altitude of at least 3,000 metres above sea level and this factor, along with the very cold temperatures experienced in winter, had delayed road construction projects until the start of China’s Go West campaign in 2000. Today, National Highway 214 links the provincial capital Xining with 95 per cent of Qinghai’s counties, where generations of villagers have never ventured outside their hometown. Younger people are now finding it much easier to travel to Xining or Lanzhou, capital of nearby Gansu province, and even Beijing.

According to Yang Borang, director of the provincial transport authorities, more than Rmb10bn has been spent on road projects over the 11th five-year plan (2007-2012), making Qinghai an important component of China’s fast growing economy in the western region. In the next eight years, he said, more money will be spent on 11 major road projects, including expressways.
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