Xizang expressway brightens local lives

State-owned company offers helping hand for jobs, improved living standards

By MA CHENGUANG and ZHUANG QIANGE | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-11 09:49
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Tenzin Phuntsog, a native of Sog county, Xizang autonomous region, and an employee of China Railway No 4 Engineering Group Co Ltd, takes measurements at the construction site of the Lhasa-Shigatse Expressway. CHINA DAILY

The completion of a key expressway linking Lhasa, capital of the Xizang autonomous region, and Shigatse, a prefecture-level city, has boosted local transportation and transformed the livelihoods of residents.

The 166.98-kilometer-long expressway, whose first phase had opened to traffic earlier, saw the second phase, or the middle section partly built by China Railway No 4 Engineering Group Co Ltd, fully connected on Dec 5.

Tenzin Phuntsog, a native of Sog county in Xizang and a worker at CREC4, was told by the company that he could end his probationary period six months earlier than scheduled and become a formal employee, due to his dedication to the job.

Tenzin, who had received technical training and been admitted to CREC4's project department in Rinpung county in July 2021, said he was glad that his diligence at work had so quickly won praise from his company, a State-owned builder.

In June 2018, CREC4 builders arrived in Rinpung to construct the Yaan-Yecheng Expressway running through the county. It embarked on a plan to help the local people. Rinpung, located in the northeastern tip of Shigatse, borders Lhasa in the north and Shannan in the east.

Tenzin, who now works as a technician for the Cholungya River bridge, earns 15,000 yuan ($2,270) per month, greatly boosting income support for his family.

Previously, the family of four, including his father, mother and elder sister, lived mainly on the meager salary of his father, who used to toil as a road maintenance worker.

The Yaan-Yecheng Expressway starts at Juntian village under Yaan's Yucheng district in Sichuan province, and ends at Yecheng under Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, spanning three provincial-level regions: Sichuan, Xizang and Xinjiang.

As a key east-west artery in the national expressway network, work on it officially started in October 2012. On Dec 31, 2018, the entire Sichuan section was opened to traffic.

Sog county is in Nagqu prefecture, bordering Shigatse in the south.

"As my father works on roads, I am so proud that I could also work as a road builder," Tenzin said, adding that his salary has helped lessen the burden on his family.

For Nudron, a widowed mother of two, her job at CREC4's construction site on the expressway has helped stabilize all the basic family expenses.

Before landing the new job in 2020, she was a poverty-stricken resident of Nubikam at Rinpung's Chewa township, shouldering all the responsibilities of the family.

She now works as a traffic guide for CREC4's project mixing station and the intersection of National Highway 318. She earns a monthly income of 5,000 yuan.

"I really cherish my current job, as I can do my bit for the work safety of the project," said Nudron, who is always by her post, whether on a hot summer's day or a cold one with heavy snowfall during winter.

On May 9, 2022, the Nyingchi-Lhasa section of the Yaan-Yecheng Expressway was opened to traffic, following the trial operation of the first phase, the Lhasa-Shigatse Expressway, in the east since Nov 22, 2021.

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