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Tibet to build first expressway
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Landlocked Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China has announced plans to build its first expressway this year.

The 37.9-km expressway will have two lanes each side allowing vehicles to run at 80 to 120 km per hour, said Yao Bohua, an expert of Tibet's institute of road survey and design, the designer of the project.

The east-west traffic link will extend from the suburban Liuwu New District along the Lhasa River to Gongga airport, in southwestern Lhasa, the regional capital.

Construction is expected to start in April or May if approved by central authorities, Yao said.

On completion in 2011, the expressway would help to ease traffic pressure along a section of the No. 318 national highway that sees frequent flooding and traffic jams, and improve the airport transport links.

The project is estimated to cost 1.55 billion yuan (US$226.7 million).

Solar energy lighting facilities would be used along the freehway. New techniques will be applied in road surfacing to reduce the eroding effects of strong sunlight and extreme temperatures in the high-altitude region.

Gongga, one of the world's highest airports and one of four in Tibet, handled 1.05 million passengers in 2007 and aims to raise the capacity to 1.7 million a year by 2010.

(Xinhua News Agency January 16, 2009)

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