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Qomolangma torch relay road inaugurated
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Chinese armed police have made great efforts to repair a road dedicated to the portion of the Beijing Olympic torch relay to the world's highest peak of Qomolangma.

The project, which sets an example of environmental protection in the world's highest plateau, was completed recently, according to the People's Liberation Army Daily.

Built in the 1950s, the road was rough and badly eroded due to years of rain, wind, snow and sandstorms, unable to ensure smooth traffic to honor the Olympic mission. Repair was necessary, but the staff worried about the possible impact on the environment.

The Second Transportation Detachment of the Chinese Armed Police, with 40 years of experience in plateau works, took up the task.

As the highest highway in the world, the road passes through the permanent frozen layer covered with glaciers. To protect the terrain from being melted by the earthworks, the soldiers and officers built the roadbed with air-cooled stone sheets and macadamized berms, which are considered world-class technologies.

They abandoned the planned asphalt pavement, replacing it with gravel to protect the environment from heat stress. To limit dust-raising, they spent more money to bring in 250,000 tons of sand from a faraway place.

Because winds are prevalent around the road site, the builders sprayed water to control dust during construction. They also moved grass from the road site to another place for replanting, thus minimizing the loss of vegetative cover.

(BOCOG March 11, 2008)

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