China just keeps growing and growing and this week two critical infrastructure announcements were made–the first being that the country is building a new super-speed railway and the second being that the country is expanding its highway from Beijing to Tibet in an effort to prevent any future long, historic traffic jams from ever happening again. (In early September a traffic jam lasted for 10 days and stretched on for 180 kilometers).
The super-speed railway is set to run at 500 kilometers per hour. “We aim to lead the world in high-speed railway construction,” said China’s Ministry of Railways Chief Engineer, He Huawu. The country already has trains running at 380 KPH, and a set of trains not yet implemented are set to run at around 450 KPH.
The $1.5 billion dollar highway project started yesterday and makes room in the congestion-prone areas of Hohhot and Baoutou in Inner Mongolia. A 217-km-long portion of the highway will be expanded from four lanes to eight. “The Hohhot-Baotou highway section is a trunk line in Inner Mongolia and is shared with the Beijing-Tibet freeway and the Beijing-Xinjiang freeway,” according to Xinhua.
The reason for the increased traffic and highway expansion, alas, is not so great for the environment. The autonomous region of Inner Mongolia is a major producer of coal, and transport by truck increased by 49 percent this year alone.