A 76-kilometer desert expressway, believed to be the first in the country, opened Wednesday in Shaanxi Province, northwest China.
Running through the Mu Us desert, the new expressway connects Yulin city, Shaanxi province, with Manggaitu on the border between Shaanxi and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. At a cost of 416million yuan (US$50 million), it can carry vehicles traveling at a speed of up to 100 kilometers per hour.
According to officials in charge of the project, the successful construction of the desert expressway should be owed to the efforts by scientists and technicians who solved the problems related to laying road foundations on soft sand and preventing the surface from being covered by quicksand.
In order to protect the expressway, over 13 million yuan (US$1.6 million) has been spent in planting trees and cultivating a green belt along the expressway.
(People’s Daily September 26, 2002)