Without a single inch of asphalted roads 50 years ago, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in northwest China, now has approximately 87,000 kilometers of highways open to traffic.
The central government of China has invested up to 50 billion yuan (US$6.16 billion) to build highways in Xinjiang since the founding of this westernmost autonomous region five decades ago, said Muhilip Hasm, head of the regional communications bureau.
Xinjiang is expected to pour 10 billion yuan (US$1.23 billion) into highway construction this year alone, said Muhilip.
By the end of this year, the total length of highways open to traffic will reach 90,000 kilometers in Xinjiang, including eight national highways and 68 highways connecting Xinjiang's counties together and linking the region with other Chinese provinces and autonomous regions.
Currently, highways carry 95 percent of passengers and 87 percent of cargo into and from Xinjiang annually.
Xinjiang has opened 15 highway ports and operates 75 highways for cross-border passenger and cargo transport.
(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2005)