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SW.China city plans world-class transport hub
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A new bridge over the Yangtze is among recent projects to facilitate transport in a city divided by two large rivers.

A new bridge over the Yangtze is among recent projects to facilitate transport in a city divided by two large rivers.

An economic powerhouse in China's west, the municipality of Chongqing has put plans in place to become one of the country's premier transport hubs.

Already a regional transportation center with developed rail, water, highway and aviation networks linking the municipality with the rest of the country, the city's authorities now plan to spend hundreds of billions of yuan to expand its capacity.

Jiangbei International Airport, 21 km from the city center, has flights to China's major cities as well as Japan and Thailand.

A number of ports along the Yangtze, the largest navigable river in China, also offer the city an easy access to domestic and overseas markets.

It now has three major railways and a number of highways and expressways linking the city and neighboring provinces.

But local authorities have an ambitious plan to further develop the transportation system to match the municipality's position as an economic center in west China.

According to Huang Qifan, executive vice-mayor of Chongqing, the city will invest a total of 300 billion yuan by 2012 to improve its transportation facilities, about 100 billion yuan of which will be used to improve its railways, river ports and the Jiangbei International Airport.

Another 100 billion yuan will be channeled into building new inter-regional expressways, including those to link Chongqing with Hunan, Shanghai and Yibin and Luzhou in Sichuan. By 2012, the total length of such inter-regional expressways in Chongqing will reach 2,100 km.

In addition, about 100 billion yuan will be invested in expanding and improving the transportation system to link all areas inside the municipality. About 1,000 km of expressways will be built connecting all districts and counties in Chongqing, as well as other public transportation facilities like urban roads and a light rail system.

The light rail system, including subways, will have total length of 116 km by 2012.

He said that with the upgraded urban network, travel to any place inside the city center will take less than half an hour.

A drive from the city proper to any place inside the municipality will then take less than four hours, which "will be a great achievement for Chongqing, considering it is the largest municipality in China, with a total land area of 82,400 sq km", Huang said.

He noted construction of high-speed railways will enable a four-hour trip to a number of cities like Chengdu, Nanning and Guiyang in neighboring provinces and regions by 2015.

Huang said it will also take less than eight hours to travel to the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and some Southeast Asian countries.

Expansion and improvement of river ports will make Chongqing a water transportation hub along the Yangtze River and once again make the Yangtze a "golden waterway" to facilitate flow of commodities between southwest China and the rest of the country and the world, he concluded.

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