Highway links tourists to mountainous scenic spots

2020年06月19日06:35  来源:山西日报

The Taihang No 1 Highway, which links the major destinations and villages in and near the Taihang Mountains, is expected to offer convenience to tourists boost local growth. CAO YANG / XINHUA

When mentioning a road that can provide self-driving tourists with a sightseeing experience of a long range of spectacular mountains, one may easily think of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Mountains in the United States, which inspired John Denver to write his famous song Take Me Home, Country Road.

And now, Shanxi province in North China is expected to have a similar road in the near future in its Taihang Mountains region.

Taihang, rising up to 3,000 meters above the adjacent North China Plain and serving as the natural border among Shanxi, Hebei and Henan provinces, is an obstacle to the east-west transport in the region.

However, travels to both sides of the mountains have never been hindered throughout thousands of years thanks to the river valleys in the mountains.

Taihang is the watershed for streams running to the Yellow River in the west and streams flowing into the Bohai Bay in the east.

The renowned "Eight Paths of Taihang" in history are the ancient roads built along the valleys, offering passage for travelers to and from Shanxi.

In modern times, highways and railways have been built on the ancient passageways, further facilitating the flow of people and commodities.

But the east-west roads are still not enough for travelers who want to have in-depth tours of the mountains that extend more than 400 kilometers from north to south.

To meet the new demands of tourists, authorities of Shanxi decided to build a special road to the Taihang Mountains in 2018.

Yan Chenxi, head of the Shanxi Department of Transportation, said the road, which is called "Taihang No 1 Highway", is designed to offer a slow-paced and in-depth travel experience of the mountains to tourists.

The 1,257-km main stretch of the highway runs from Xinzhou in the north to Jincheng in the south.

The main road, together with about 3,500 km of branch roads, will link hundreds of tourist destinations in 29 counties and districts in six cities in Shanxi, according to Yan.

"Shanxi boasts nearly 60 percent of the total area of Taihang, with hundreds of scenic spots scattered around like pearls," Yan said.

He added that "Taihang No 1 will serve as a chain linking the pearls together, offering better access for tourists and bringing new opportunities for locals to get richer".

The Qinshui county section of the Taihang No 1 became operational in October 2019. And the ease of traffic brought by the highway was immediately felt by the locals and tourists.

The Residence of the Liu Family in Xiwenxing village, an ancient building complex with more than 100 rooms, is a renowned attraction in the county.

However, travel from the village to the county seat used to require a drive of 1.5 hours on rugged roads, according to Hou Jie, chief of the county's culture and tourism bureau.

Hou said it now takes half an hour to reach the residence thanks to the completion of the local stretch of Taihang No 1.

The entire artery of Taihang No 1 is scheduled to be completed within this year, according to the provincial plan for the road.

Guo Yanjie contributed to this story.