China plans to launch a total of 5,300 road projects in its vast rural areas this year, covering 78,000 kilometers, the Ministry of Communications said in Beijing Thursday.
Minister of Communications Zhang Chunxian told a videophone conference on national rural road construction that the total investment for these projects will hit 75 billion yuan (about US$9.1 billion), and the first 39.6 billion yuan will be used this year.
Zhang said the ministry will speed up the road construction in the rural areas from this year and a total of 176,000 kilometers of road is expected to be built in the following three years, with an investment of 50 billion yuan provided by the central government.
This year, the ministry will also invest an additional 3 billion yuan to help those remote towns and villages to build roads, said Zhang.
Currently, 184 towns and 54,000 villages in China have no access to roads, most of which are scattered in western China, with a certain group in the central and eastern areas.
Zhang said these large-scale road construction projects are of long-term significance for the development of the rural areas.
According to the strategy of the ministry, China plans to have its rural road conditions and traffic service greatly improved by the year 2005, with roads reaching 99.8 percent of towns and 96 percent of villages.
By the end of 2010, China will have all its towns and villages connected to roads and more than 95 percent of those village roads will be available to public traffic.
By the end of 2020, all village roads will be built into high-standard roads and all will be available to public traffic.
(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2003)