Expressways will link main cities across country
2 trillion yuan project will include Hong Kong connection
Communications Minister Zhang Chunxian has unveiled details of an ambitious 85,000km expressway network to take shape across the nation during the next three decades.
Mr Zhang said yesterday that the network would connect more than 1 billion people and cost an estimated 2 trillion yuan.
It will comprise seven links radiating from Beijing, nine running north-south and 18 east-west, linking all cities with a population of at least 200,000 people.
The blueprint was passed by the State Council on December 17.
The minister said annual investment in expressways would be about 140 billion to 150 billion yuan for the next five years, with spending from 2010 to 2020 averaging about 100 billion yuan a year.
Funds for the project would come from vehicle tax, toll fees and taxes collected by local governments, state bonds as well as domestic and foreign investment.
The programme envisages links from Beijing to Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong and Macau, Kunming , Lhasa , Urumqi and Harbin .
The nine north-south routes will include expressways from Shenyang to Haikou , Changchun to Shenzhen, Jinan to Guangzhou, Daqing to Guangzhou and Erenhot to Guangzhou.
The roads running east to west include links between Nanjing and Luoyang , and between Shanghai and Xian .
They will also link Shanghai and Chengdu , Shanghai and Kunming, Xiamen and Chengdu, Guangzhou and Kunming, and Shantou and Kunming.
About 29,000km has already been built and incorporated into the 85,000km network, while 16,000km is under construction. Work on has yet to start on the remaining 40,000 km.
Most of the expressways still in the planning stages will be located in the country's central and western areas.
Once finished, the network will be connected to 50 main railway hubs, 67 airports and 50 ports.
Mr Zhang predicted that, on average, people would be able to access the expressway network within 30 minutes by car in eastern areas, one hour in central areas and two hours in western areas.
By the end of last year, the mainland boasted 34,000km of expressways, 17 years after the country started building the arterial roads.
The mainland's expressway network is already the second-longest in the world and has grown quickly since 1998. Each year, more than 4,000km of expressways has come into use, easing transport problems.
China's planned national expressway network will also stretch to Hong Kong and Macau, to link up with the planned Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
Mr Zhang said the link would benefit prosperity and stability in Hong Kong, help reduce logistics costs and promote the integration of the economies of Hong Kong, Macau and the Pearl River Delta and its hinterland.