Eco-friendly highway in China preserves mountain

August 14, 2015 0 By Amanda Giasson
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China unveils new scenic overwater highway that stretches almost seven miles.

On August 9, China officially opened its new eco-friendly highway, which was built to connect Xingshan County in Hubei to G42, a high-speed route that links Shanghai (located in eastern China) to Chengduo (located in the country’s south west). However, what makes this particular highway so remarkable is that not only is it the first of its kind in the country, but it is 10.9 km (6.8 miles) long and 4.4 km (2.7 miles) of the highway is over water, providing drivers with a breathtaking scenic route.

The highway was carefully designed to avoid causing damage to the mountains in the region.

Chen Xingda, the project manager of the eco-friendly highway, said that when the motorway was initially proposed back in 2013, three routes were possible. The first two routes would have required digging a tunnel through the mountains in the region, but would have provided travelers with a shorter route than the third proposed route, which would require the road to be built around the mountains and over water.

The engineers decided on the third route because they wanted to protect the natural environment in the mountains. By choosing to build over water, they managed to preserve the abundance of woodland and plants in the mountains, and also provided drivers with a beautiful view of the river, mountains, valleys and villages in the region.

Furthermore, even though the third route was longer, it has still dramatically cut down travel time from Xingshan to G42. Instead of the original journey, which involved an hour-long drive along a road that was both steep and convoluted, the new overwater highway takes only 20 minutes to get from one end to the other.

The eco-friendly highway is expected to improve logistics and tourism for Xingshan.

Dubbed “the most beautiful overwater highway” in China, the $70 million project not only provides residents with a better and faster route to get from Shanghai to Chengduo, but the eco-friendly highway that was built on top of a bridge in the middle of a river valley, is also expected to boost tourism in the remote village of Xingshan, which is famous for being the hometown of Wang Zhaojun, one of the Four Beauties of ancient China.