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Construction projects aim to improve road safety of Sichuan-Tibet Highway


11-25-2014 06:32 BJT

The Sichuan-Tibet Highway is known as a road full of stunning vistas, winding through 21 mountains and crossing14 major rivers. But these same natural wonders can make it a risky journey for travelers.

CCTV News is going to introduce the highway for three days starting Monday. As our reporter Shi Wenjing tells us, several construction projects are now underway to ensure the route is both scenic and safe.

The Sichuan-Tibet Highway has become famous for amazing views like this. But twists and sharp turns like this are just as common. And travelers should always be prepared for...

"You can tell just from the camera how bad the road condition is. It will take us two and half hours to climb up this mountain. But the road condition will become better once the tunnel is completed," said Shi Wenjing.

The planned tunnel is one of the many projects underway aimed at providing a smoother and safer trip along the Sichuan-Tibet Highway. Once it opens, travelers will be able to avoid dangerous turns and their travel times through this mountain pass will be cut to just one hour.

But that’s only IF it opens. With an elevation of over 4-thousand meters and temperatures that reach as low as minus-22 degrees Celsius, this mountain is no easy construction site.

"We started four years ago. During that period, more than 35-hundred workers quit due to bad weather conditions. The rocks in this mountain also make it difficult for construction because they easily turn to rock powder. So the project has progressed very slow, only 50 centimeters at a time," said Man Yuxian, project manager of Gaoersi tunnel construction.

Its special geological features have also demanded other additional measures....

“We used a radar system to detect the vibrations in the rock layers, so that we can know in advance which parts may go wrong and make plans accordingly," said Deng Jiawei, chief engineer of Gaoersi tunnel construction.

The tunnel, scheduled to open in April, is not the only project along the highway designed to improve or completely replace the previous path.

This bridge, for example, is located at the most dangerous section of road. Only one vehicle is allowed to cross at a time. Its maximum weight is 20 tons. If anything falls off the side, it would be quickly swallowed up by the river below.

A new bridge will be tested next February. It’s expected to have a maximum weight of 400 tons, twenty times higher than its predecessor.

These projects, if successful, will ensure travelers enjoy the ride without any risks.

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