This aerial photo taken on Dec. 28, 2023 shows direction signs on the Beijing-Xiong'an expressway in Beijing, capital of China. [Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin]
The final section of an expressway linking Beijing and Xiong'an New Area in neighboring Hebei province opened on Thursday, reducing travel time by road between them to one hour, according to the Ministry of Transport. The eight-lane expressway spans 97 kilometers and has a designed speed of up to 120 km per hour. The ministry said it is the most convenient and fastest route linking the capital with the new area, and facilitates the integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and the province of Hebei. The expressway runs for 27 km within Beijing and 70 km within Hebei. Previously, it would take around an hour and a half to drive from the southwestern part of the capital to Xiong'an via Beijing's Fifth Ring Road.
"The Beijing-Xiong'an Expressway serves as a crucial transport corridor connecting the new area. Its opening has enhanced the new area's transportation network," said Zhao Yang, an official at the Beijing Transport Commission. She highlighted that the expressway also enhances the broader regional transport network and will contribute to social and economic development along its route.
The newly opened section, spanning 14.8 km, features notable infrastructure, including a "megabridge "over the Yongding River, four viaducts, five flyover bridges and a toll station.
Wang Haitao, a senior engineer from the Shanghai Civil Engineering Group of China Railway Engineering Group, said that the 1,620-meter "megabridge" will become a prominent landmark in the capital. "With its main 300-meter arch, it is the city's longest single-arch-span bridge and accommodates eight lanes. The construction of this bridge required a total of 22,000 metric tons of steel," he said. Additionally, wetlands parks are being developed on both sides of the bridge to provide public recreational areas.
To alleviate traffic congestion at the toll station, engineers have implemented reversible lanes, according to Wu Bo, the engineer responsible for its construction. Wu explained that when the traffic volume in both directions reaches 6,000 vehicles per hour, the reversible lanes will be activated to improve efficiency.
An Lei, a Beijing resident, currently spends about an hour commuting from home to work in the morning. He eagerly anticipated the opening of the new expressway, expecting it to reduce his morning commute to approximately 40 minutes. "During the rush hour in the morning, the new road will alleviate traffic congestion," he said.
In April 2017, China announced the establishment of the Xiong'an New Area in Hebei. The new area is aimed at relieving Beijing of non-essential functions associated with its status as the nation's capital, while promoting the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
Edited by Wang Miao
with reference to <http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202312/29/WS658e23dfa31040ac301aa156.html>