Expressway opens from Beijing to Xiong'an

CHINA DAILY, January 05, 2023
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<span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Expressway opens from Beijing to Xiong'an -</span>

The latest section of the Beijing-Xiong'an Expressway opened to traffic on Saturday, reducing travel time from the capital to the new area in neighboring Hebei province to around 50 minutes, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The new section runs from the southwestern part of Beijing's Sixth Ring Road to the municipality's border — a total of 12 kilometers. The entire expressway, when completed this year, will stretch 82 km.

It takes about 50 minutes from the Sixth Ring Road in the southwestern part of the capital to the new area, saving up to 30 minutes, according to the Ministry of Transport.

"It is the most convenient express road link between Beijing and Xiong'an and greatly enhances transport efficiency," said Wang Jianhui, an official from the Beijing Commission of Transport.

The newly opened section of the expressway will also relieve traffic pressure on other roads in the capital, he said.

The section connects to an expressway to Beijing Daxing International Airport, making travel to the air hub easier from Xiong'an, Wang added.

The Beijing-Xiong'an Expressway, which will extend more than 100 km when completed, has about 27 km in Beijing and 75 km in Hebei.

The Beijing section, with a total investment of 12.2 billion yuan ($1.77 billion), has four lanes in each direction.

The newly opened section runs parallel with the high-speed rail line from Beijing to Shijiazhuang — the provincial capital of Hebei — reducing the impact of the transport network on the surrounding environment, according to Cui Genqun, president of China Railway Jingxiong (Beijing) Expressway Development, which is in charge of the expressway's construction and operation.

"Being green is one of many features of the advanced expressway," he said.

To make way for the expressway, instead of just digging up 22 hectares of pear trees, some of the trees were transplanted outside the core construction area.

"We've protected the old trees and established a beautiful landscape along the expressway," Cui said.

As well as being green, the new section utilizes advanced technology.

The 5G network fully covers the route, utilizing the Beidou navigation system and smart monitoring to reduce accidents.

Road safety warning lights have been placed at 30-meter intervals.

"The lights turn on automatically and flash when bad weather causes low visibility, such as in heavy fog, rainfall or snow," said Chen Yang, a manager at China Railway Jingxiong.

When a vehicle is too close to the car in front, the lights will turn red to remind drivers to keep their distance, he added.

The expressway operator has cooperated with navigation service providers to provide real-time information for drivers, Chen said.

"Drivers can get up-to-date information when they use their navigation systems. We call it a 'housekeeping' service," he added.

Zhang Wei, a schoolteacher in Beijing, said the new expressway will save time when he travels to Hebei to see friends and family.

He was one of the first lining up at the toll station to leave Beijing on Saturday.

Although high-speed rail is convenient for travel between Beijing and Xiong'an, Zhang prefers to drive.

"I feel safer and more assured driving, especially during the epidemic in the past three years. It is also more convenient to carry luggage, especially large gifts," he said.

The remaining section of the Beijing-Xiong'an Expressway — from the southern part of the Fifth Ring Road to the Sixth Ring Road in Beijing — is under construction and expected to open within this year.