4.7-trillion-yuan plan to double mainland road network by 2030

Central government earmarks 4.7 trillion yuan for upgrading and extending roads, giving the country 400,000km of highway by 2030

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 June, 2013, 5:25am

The mainland will spend 4.7 trillion yuan (HK$5.9 trillion) in the next 17 years to more than double its network of major roads, top transport officials said yesterday.

Dai Dongchang , chief planner with the Ministry of Transport's general planning department, told a press conference that a recently approved blueprint for road expansion included 50,000 kilometres of toll highways and 160,000 kilometres of toll-free "national trunk ways", which are narrower and have slower top speeds.

The mainland has 173,000 kilometres of the two kinds of road at present and the plan approved by the State Council last month says that should rise to 400,000 kilometres by 2030.

By then, toll-free trunk ways should connect all counties, Dai said, while highways should connect all cities with populations of more than 200,000, as well as important transport junctions and border ports.

Huang Min , head of the National Development and Reform Commission's basic industry department, said 18 cities of more than 200,000 lacked highway links at present, while more than 900 counties were not connected to national trunk ways.

The new highways would include two north-south routes in the nation's west, Huang said, with many of the 900 counties expecting new trunk ways also located in the west.

The mainland now had about 110 million private vehicles, 60 times the number in 1981, when the plan for the existing road system was drafted, he said.

Dai said the volume of goods carried on mainland roads was 3.7 times the volume carried on United States' roads and was expected to at least double by 2030, along with the number of passenger vehicles.

He said China had previously paid more attention to the construction of highways and small roads in the countryside, leading to sluggish development and poor maintenance of trunk ways.

The blueprint forecasts a total of 5.8 million kilometres of roads on the mainland by 2030 - 84 per cent countryside roads, 9 per cent provincial roads and 7 per cent highways and trunk ways.

Dai said that "in the long run", the authorities planned to keep the percentage of toll roads at about 3 per cent. He did not give the existing percentage.

High tolls on mainland highways have been a major source of public dissatisfaction in recent years.