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September 13, 2009

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Expressway a record breaker

WITH the construction of its western section having been completed yesterday, Beijing's Sixth Ring Road, China's longest city expressway, is now fully open to traffic, according to the local communications department.

The western section linking Liangxiang and Zhaikou measured 38.28 kilometers and was the last phase of the Sixth Ring Road construction project which began in December 1998.

Some 187.6 kilometers long, the Sixth Ring Road accounts for more than one-fifth of the total mileage of Beijing's expressway and services most of the city's population, said sources with the Beijing Municipal Committee of Communications.

The road, which connects with major outbound expressways and national highways would also allow Beijing residents much easier access to peripheral cities such as Chengde in Hebei Province and the suburban Pinggu County, they said.

As Beijing is a vital transport terminal between northwestern China and the northern sea ports, the committee said that the Sixth Ring Road would not only ease downtown traffic pressure and improve the city's air quality but also facilitate passenger and cargo transport from the north and the west to the east and the south.

A separate report from the Institute of Comprehensive Transportation of the National Development and Reform Commission has estimated that the benefits brought by the Sixth Ring Road in 20 years could reach 184.5 billion yuan (US$27 billion), 10 times as much as its cost.

It is also estimated that fewer traffic hold-ups could help cut automotive exhaust by around 3 percent.


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