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Trunk highways, rural roads worst hit in Sichuan quake
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The powerful earthquake on May 12 had severely damaged the trunk highways and rural roads in the southwestern Sichuan Province, a local government official said Friday.

As of 6:00 p.m. Friday, the quake had caused 47.8 billion yuan (6.8 billion US dollars) in loss for the transport infrastructure in Sichuan, said a spokesman of the province's transport department.

The worst-hit facilities were national or provincial trunk highways and rural roads, the spokesman said.

Some sections of seven expressways were severely damaged, causing an economic loss of 6 billion yuan. The bases, tunnels and bridges of five national highways and 10 provincial highways were also destroyed, impeding the traffic and causing a loss of 22.52 billion yuan.

In the rural areas, more than 17,000 km of roads were demolished, causing 16.2 billion yuan in loss.

Thirty-three roads in quake-stricken areas remained blocked. A basic recovery of traffic infrastructure damaged in the province would take three years, said Li Chengyun, vice governor of Sichuan at a press conference on Friday.

(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2008)

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