Road network continues increasing connections
Cars travel the Aizhai mountain road in Jishou, Hunan province, on Wednesday. The road was renovated in recent years and has become a popular tourist spot. [Liu Guixiong/For China Daily]
The national road network is expected to reach a total length of 461,000 kilometers by 2035 and support the nation's modern urbanization drive and comprehensive development needs, officials with the Ministry of Transport said on Monday.
China unveiled a plan outlining major targets for its national road network earlier this month.
Wang Songbo, deputy director of the ministry's comprehensive planning department, said the new plan involves reaching 162,000 km of national expressways, including 58,000 km renovated or built, and 299,000 km of highways, including 110,000 km renovated or built.
The plan strengthens the national road network through enhancing connections among major cities and supporting the integrated development of transportation in urban clusters, Wang said.
Twelve metropolitan ring roads serving megacities have been included in the plan. The network will keep the commuting time in urban areas of megacities within an hour, he said.
The network covers more small and medium-sized cities while enhancing convenient connections among them. New routes such as the Quanzhou-Meizhou and Fuzhou-Ji'an connections have been added.
"All cities and counties with more than 100,000 residents in urban areas will get access to national expressways," Wang said, adding that it should take residents on average about 30 minutes to reach a national expressway.
Internationally, in order to strengthen the interconnection with neighboring countries, the plan optimizes the connection between the national road network and the Asian road network, as well as the connection with economic corridors.
National highway connections have been added to important ports such as Gantsmod in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, according to the plan.
The plan has added a number of national roads to strengthen the connection to major scenic spots and transportation hubs, such as Qinzhou to Chongzuo in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, meeting people's diverse travel needs.
"The plan also highlights the function of highway transportation in driving the development of tourism," Wang said.
The national road network is a safety net for public security, increasing the capacity for emergency response, he added.
Wang Tai, deputy director of the ministry's highways department, said that in the last decade, a total of 2.53 million km of rural roads have been built or renovated nationwide.
The ministry will increase efforts to improve the highway network and renovate bridges in rural areas by 2025. Rural roads at revolutionary bases, in autonomous regions and border areas will be strengthened, Wang said.
"The ministry will boost the integrated development of rural highways and other industries such as rural tourism," he said, adding that extended services such as parking, charging and shopping will be provided to improve the sustainable development of rural highways.