Work began Monday on the first foreign-invested highway in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region -- to connect Hechi in the northwest of the region and the regional capital.
The road has set a record for the investment in Guangxi, and will be part of the links between the economically weak southwest of China to the flourishing coastal areas.
Starting in Shuiren Village, near Hechi City, the 236.64-km highway is designed to wind its way south to the eastern suburbs of Nanning and connect to an expressway between the two resort cities of Guilin and Beihai.
A sum of 4.45 billion yuan (about 536 million U.S. dollars) is to be invested in the 42-month project. So far, the World Bank has agreed to offer a loan of 200 million U.S. dollars.
Officials with the regional communications department said that the construction of the road is demanding, for the areas it runs through feature complicated and even dangerous topography.
Vice-Chairman of the Regional People's Government said that he saw the project as a vital step to improve the region's infrastructure and accelerate its economic growth.
(People's Daily 08/07/2001)