(TibetanReview.net, Jan01’19) – China said Dec 31 that it had opened to traffic a new expressway to extend quick transport link to what is one of the most politically disturbed regions in eastern Tibet. The expressway links Ya’an, a prefecture-level city in western part of Sichuan Province, with Kangding (Tibetan: Dartsedo), which became the south-western adjunct of this province after China’s annexation of Tibet.
The expressway went into trial operation on Dec 31 morning, marking the total length of expressways in the province at 7,238 km, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Dec 31.
Work on the project was carried out on an emergency footing with the report saying its construction was completed nine months ahead of schedule.
The report said this will be the second highway into the Ganzi (Tibetan: Karze, or Kanze) Prefecture after the National Highway 318, which leads to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region.
The report said the newly completed route will enable passengers to travel from Sichuan’s capital Chengdu to Ganzi’s capital Kangding in only three and half hours.
The total length of the Ya’an-Kangding section of the expressway, built at the cost of about 23 billion yuan (about US$ 3.3 billion), was stated to be about 135 km.
Construction was started in Sep 2014 and one of its mountain tunnels passes through 13 earthquake fault zones, the report said.