World’s highest expressway, linking Beijing and Tibet’s capital Lhasa, begins operation

Aerial view of the Lhasa-Nagchu high-grade highway (R) and the Qinghai-Tibet railway. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(, Aug22’21) – China said Aug 21 that it had opened the world’s highest expressway in occupied Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) that day, running between Nagchu City in the north and capital Lhasa. It followed the inauguration the day before of the final 227-km section between Nagqu (Tibetan: Nagchu) and Yangbajain near Lhasa by the visiting Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Yang the day before.

The Nagqu-Lhasa expressway, running 295 km with an average altitude of over 4,500 meters, is part of the expressway linking Beijing and Lhasa, and is the first highway connecting Lhasa and the grasslands of northern Tibet, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Aug 21.

The report said the expressway will shorten the drive between Lhasa and the city of Nagqu to three hours from more than six.

It will significantly enlarge the transport capacity and improve the level of security of the corridor connecting Tibet with northwest China’s Qinghai Province, an official in China’s Ministry of Transport was cited as saying.

The report noted that the Yangbajain-Lhasa section of the expressway had opened to traffic in Oct 2020.

The inauguration was part of events during Wang delegation’s division tour of Nagchu City on Aug 21, a day after Wang presided over the so-called 70th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet in front of the Potala Palace. The visit of Wang, who is also the chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, followed President Xi Jinping’s visit to Nyingtri and Lhasa from Jul 21 to 23 for the same anniversary.

Other members of Wang’s delegation from Beijing were reported to have toured two other parts of Tibet in two divisions. No details were provided. The delegation returned to Beijing on Aug 21.

The visit of the Wang delegation to Tibet, which left Beijing on Aug 18, as reported by Xinhua Aug 21, and the holding of the anniversary event on Aug 19 were not officially announced until after they took place.


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