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Key highway link opens in Henan
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The Zhengshi Highway was opened to traffic this weekend in the capital of Henan Province, creating an important new link between the northern and southern parts of the country.

The 183-km Zhengshi Highway, the longest section in the province, connects Zhengzhou with the Shirenshan scenic area in Pingdingshan city.

The opening of the new highway effectively opens the door to Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, and Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province.

Henan now has 4,556 km of highways, solidifying its status as a national leader. The province topped the nation in terms of highways last year, when it had just 3,439 km.

Governor Li Chengyu said Henan's position in the center of the country made it a natural transportation hub.

"Having an advanced and convenient highway network will provide a sound foundation for the fast development of Central China and boost progress in the West," he said.

Ninety-two percent of Henan's counties have convenient access to the provincial highway network. It is possible to travel to Zhengzhou within three hours from any of the 18 cities surrounding the capital.

Li Qingrui, director of the Henan provincial highway administration, said the Zhengshi section is a "great energy and tourism channel".

It passes by several coalmines, and through nine counties and the cities of Zhengzhou, Xuchang and Pingdingshan.

It also links the capital with Mount Funiu ecological scenic area.

Work started on the Zhengshi Highway in September 2005. It passes by the West-to-East natural gas pipeline once, the South-to-North water pipeline twice and six railways.

"The highway will tap the energy and tourism potential of central and western China," Li Qingrui said.

The province has been adding highways at a brisk pace in the past five years, building 1,000 km in 2002, 2,000 km in 2005 and 3,000 km last year.

It expects to have 5,000 km by 2010.

(China Daily December 25, 2007)

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