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Desert highway in southern Xinjiang opens

By LUO WANGSHU | | Updated: 2022-06-30 17:40
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A desert highway in the south of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region opened on Thursday. [Photo provided to]

A desert highway in the south of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region opened on Thursday, slashing travel time, benefiting local residents and boosting regional socioeconomic development, according to the line's constructor.

The 334-kilometer highway, linking Yuli and Qiemo counties in Bayingolin Mongol autonomous prefecture, is located at Tarim Basin between the southern slope of the Tianshan Mountains and the north side of the Altun Mountains.

The highway was constructed by the China Communications Construction Company, a multinational enterprise that mainly focuses on developing ultra-large infrastructure.

The new highway crosses the hinterland of the Taklamakan, China's largest desert. It is the third road to be built through the desert.

Nearly 92 percent of the new road—307 km—is in the desert, which made construction tremendously difficult.

"It was one of the world's most challenging roads to build," said Wang Yunfei, the road's project manager from CCCC.

The highway is expected to significantly benefit residents in the prefecture.

"It reduces the travel time between Qiemo county to Korla, capital of Bayingolin, from 12 hours to six, improving the travel experience for local residents, reducing their living costs and helping them sell produce outside of the region," said Li Ying, vice-general manager of Xinjiang Communications Investment and Development Corp, a subsidiary of CCCC.

The route traverses an area with rich petroleum resources in the Tarim Basin, which will provide strong support for oil and gas exploration and transportation in the future, boosting socioeconomic development in southern Xinjiang, he added.

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