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The Beijing to Urumqi Expressway, The World's Longest Motorway, Opens
Motorists can now drive from the Chinese capital Beijing to Urumqi, along the 2,540km road (CCSS Level: Grade 9, Words: 354)
Jul 24, 2017 World News
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The world's longest motorway - which would stretch all the way from London to Marbella - was opened to traffic last Saturday. Drivers in China can now travel from the capital Beijing to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The Beijing-Urumqi 2,582km highway, which links six provinces and regions, was opened upon completion of three final sections which run through the Gobi desert.

Experts said the completion will not only promote people and cargo transportation but will also boost business in the "long inhibited" Xinjiang region where the ancient Silk Road trade route links China to the Middle East.

The final cost of the project was a reported 17.8 billion yuan (USD $2.6bn). The route is further than the distance from London to Marbella on Spain's Costa del Sol, which stands at 2,295km. Motorists using the new highway will cut off 1,300km compared to existing routes between the cities.

Gao Jianlong, head of Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times: "The highway makes the distance between the central government and Xinjiang people shorter, and also is the most convenient road between Beijing and Inner Mongolia, northern Gansu and Xinjiang. Offering multiple options for cargo transportation, the highway will benefit Xinjiang to realise its future position as a core zone and transportation hub of the Silk Road Economic Belt."

Ding Yifan, a deputy director of the Institute of World Development, added: "The project will help reduce the geographical disadvantages that long inhibited western China development, and it puts the region at the forefront of economic development."

According to China Daily, around 41,000km of expressways have been opened to traffic since 2012, with 98 percent of towns and cities with a population of over 200,000 people now being accessible.

Alongside the world's longest motorway, China also has the longest bridge over water. In June 2011, the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, which runs 42km from the eastern port city Qingdao to the offshore island of Huangdao, opened to the public. And if that isn't impressive enough, China also boasts the world's longest bridge which is the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, a railway bridge spanning 165km.

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