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China to rebuild main roads in quake zone within 3 years
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China will be able to finish rebuilding primary roads that link the quake zone to the rest of the country within three years at the earliest, the Ministry of Transport has said.

Reconstruction of all roads, including those linking towns and villages, will take eight years, said He Jianzhong, ministry spokesman.

More detours would be added to the current road network, which would also expand, he said.

Asphalt or cement roads, if geological conditions permit, would be built to link towns, and villages would also be connected by appropriate roads, he added.

The ministry also plans to build systems to cope with emergencies of transport and communications cut-offs.

After an alert on the main Tangjiashan "quake lake" was canceled on Wednesday, roads linking six towns of Beichuan County, which was threatened by the swollen lake, were fixed by 5 p.m. on Thursday.

However, six towns, out of the total 254 quake-ravaged towns, remain cut off by road. Work on these roads was hindered by the quake lake and severe damage on the main road linking Yingxiu and Wenchuan.

Ministry statistics current through Tuesday noon showed that 19 highways, 159 national and provincial roads and 7,605 rural roads -- or 47,277 km in all -- were damaged, as were 5,560 bridges and 110 tunnels.

(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2008)

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