The construction of a highway that will pass through Qinling Mountain began on Sunday in northwest China's Shaanxi Province. The 18-km tunnel section is expected to be the longest in China.
Apart from the aforementioned longest tunnel, another 11 tunnels and 50 bridges will be built on the 65.2-km-long highway linking Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi, with Zuoshui County in the same province.
The Xi'an-Zuoshui highway is the mid-section of the new north-south artery road that will wind through northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, several landlocked provinces in the regions and Beihai, China's sea outlet to Beibu Bay.
The total cost of the four-lane highway in Shaanxi, with the exception of the excavation for the construction of the Qinling tunnel, is estimated at 1.9 billion yuan (US$229.5 million).
(Xinhua News Agency September 30, 2002)