09.11.2004 06:59:00 GMT

Ministry of Communications: one hundred bridges across Yangtze River by 2020

Shanghai. (Interfax-China) - Feng Maorun, the Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Communications, declared that there would be one hundred bridges across the Yangtze River by 2020, in line with the three-phase target set by the ministry to "reduce the current intensity of traffic by 2010, meet overall demand from social and economic developments by 2020 and achieve the modernization of traffic by 2050'.

He was speaking at the Forum on the Significant Achievements in Engineering, attended by Interfax and held to welcome the First World Engineers Conference, which was opened in the city on November 5.

According to Feng, the construction of bridges has become the highlight of developments in transportation in the country since the 1990s. To better facilitate transportation across the Yangtze River, the ministry is determined to build another sixty bridges by 2020. Added to the current 54 ones, there will be over one hundred bridges established there.

As Interfax has previously reported, facilitating transportation across the Yangtze is expected to help boost the economy in northern Jiangsu and Anhui, which have so far missed out on the boom in the Yangtze delta region headed by Shanghai.

The bridge from Suzhou to Tongzhou on the Yangtze River, now under construction, will be the longest in the world with a designed span of 1,088 m.

The construction on roads and bridges faces a number of very difficult challenges. The difficult geographical and meteorological conditions in the west, and the big rivers in central and eastern China, both pose considerable difficulties for further construction, Feng noted.

Furthermore, renovating a number of old bridges, which account for 30% of existing ones, is also a big concern.

China is also trying to encourage construction enterprises to go abroad. The Surabaya-Medula Bridge in Indonesia, the country's largest bridge, and the Danube Bridge in Romania, are being constructed by Chinese firms, the official said.

Feng also revealed that a national highway network consisting of five vertical and seven horizontal roads would be established by 2007, with 35,000 km of total length. The total length of highways and high-speed roads by 2020 is expected to be lifted to 3 mln km and 70,000 km from the current level of 1.8 mln km and 30,000 km respectively.

After the construction of 4,600 km of highways last year, the total length reached 29,800 km, already the second longest in the world.

Highway construction in rural areas is also making progress, Feng noted. 102,000 km of highways was built or renovated in rural areas in 2003. The renovation project for the highway link from Shenyang-Dalian, where the number of lanes was doubled from four to eight, was completed on September 28 this year.