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China Second in the World for Expressways, Only Behind the US

Xinhua. China has been building expressways at a frenetic pace. From 2001 to 2005 it added 24,000 new kilometers—4,800 kilometers/year. That total length of new expressways in China roughly equals the combined length of all expressways in Canada and Germany—the number three and four countries for expressway length—combined.

China’s expressways stretched 41,000 kilometers at the end of 2005, the world’s second largest system only after the United States. All the more remarkable considering that in 1988, China did not have an inch of expressway, according to Dai Dongchang, director of Transport Planning and Research Institute affiliated to the Ministry of Communications.

By 2010, China expects to have around 65,000 kilometers of expressway, and plans to increase that to at least 85,000 kilometers by 2020. The United States had some 90,000 kilometers in 2005.

After its completion in 2010, the Chinese expressway network will connect all provincial capitals and cities with at least half-a-million population, as well as some with population ranging between 200,000 and 500,000.

In coastal provinces, people will be able to reach good roads (not necessarily expressways) within half an hour of travel from their homes.

At least three major expressways will be built to link China’s major economic hubs such as the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai Sea Rim areas before 2020.

The planned expressway network will also stretch to Hong Kong and Macao, and include the proposed Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. A feasibility study on a road link across the Taiwan Straits is also being conducted.

Some analysts predict, however, that given individual road projects that can be undertaken by local governments, China may surpass the US for total length of expressways by 2020.


Razib Ahmed

China needs even more than 24,000 new kilometers—4,800 kilometers/year. The chiense economy is growing and for it they need both energy and good infrastructure. However, still, except some rich cities, the ordinary people living in the rural areas of China can think of expressways in their dream only.

Adrian Akau

I think that the point here is the development of highway infrastructure that will be put to good use in this developing nation. Presently, 14,000 new cars enter the road system each day in China. This indicates tentatively an increase of over 5 million autos per year or 50 million over a 10 year period.

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