China speeds up efforts to expand, and renovate expressways

By Liu Zhiqiang, People’s Daily

China has basically completed the construction of the framework of its expressway network after four decades of endeavors. The total mileage of the country’s expressways stands at nearly 170,000 kilometers, the longest in the world.

However, the country is still seeing unbalanced and inadequate development of its expressway network. Transport service capacity of some expressways built in the old days is on a decline.

The transport meets new demands and strengthens areas of weakness, China has accelerated its steps to expand and renovate its expressways.

Key technologies have been widely applied to connect new and old roadbeds, reinforce old bridges, and recycle pavement materials and safety facilities, said an official with the Ministry of Transport.

According to the official, China has approved over 70 projects of expressway expansion and renovation since 2016, with a total mileage of more than 6,000 kilometers.

Expressway expansion and renovation have played a positive role in improving road transport service and promoting regional development, as indicated by projects that were completed in recent years.

A section of the Beijing-Shanghai Expressway in Huai’an district, Huai’an city, east China’s Jiangsu province is being expanded, in September 2022. (Photo by Ji Xingming/People’s Daily Online)

For instance, a 248.7-kilometer section between Luzhai and Nanning along the Liuzhou-Nanning Expressway in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has been expanded to a two-way eight-lane road.

“The section was once the busiest expressway in Guangxi and the most jammed one on holidays,” said Zhu Zhiqin, vice general manager of the company responsible for the expansion project.

He told People’s Daily that the section’s traffic capacity has significantly improved thanks to the project. Nowadays, about 54,600 vehicles are running along the section per day on average, up 62.8 percent from before the project was implemented.

A rest area along the G25 Changchun-Shenzhen Expressway is being constructed in Changxing county, Huzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, in June 2022. (Photo by Chen Haiwei/People’s Daily Online)

The Nanjing-Hangzhou section of the G25 Expressway that connects the northeastern city of Changchun and Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province has significantly improved its capability in diverging traffic after a renovation project was implemented. The project effectively alleviated the traffic pressure in Hangzhou.

Due to limited capital, technology, and cognitive level, some expressways built by China long ago were not very satisfying technically. Expansion and renovation projects can effectively improve the performance of these expressways and upgrade them in an intelligent manner, thus improving traffic safety, capacity and services, said Shi Liangqing, vice president of the Transport Planning and Research Institute under the Ministry of Transport.

According to relevant planning, China will renovate a number of busy expressways in its central and eastern regions such as the G2 Beijing-Shanghai Expressway, the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway, the G25 Changchun-Shenzhen Expressway, the G60 Shanghai-Kunming Expressway, and the G30 Lianyungang–Khorgas Expressway.

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