Road building moves mountains in province

2021年05月14日18:11  来源:山西日报

The JinchengJiaozuo Expressway crosses the picturesque Danhe River valley in Jincheng city. WANG LIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

A Foolish Old Man Who Removes the Mountains might be the most famous of the legends related to Shanxi.

In the story, a man called Yugong-which means foolish old man-pledges to remove the mountains that isolate his village on the border of today's Shanxi and Henan provinces.

Despite the massive efforts needed for the mission, Yugong says: "I will do my part as long as I live and when I die, my sons will carry on; when they die, there will be my grandsons, and then their sons and grandsons, and so on to infinity."

Yugong's determination and hard work touched the gods, who moved the mountains overnight and provided easier road connections for the local people.

The story is said to have taken place in Yangcheng county in the southeast of Shanxi province.

Despite the efforts of Yugong and his successors, the mountains are still in Yangcheng, locking the county from the outside. But his pledge has become a reality with the opening of more highways and expressways in recent years.

The latest is an expressway linking Yangcheng and the neighboring city of Jiyuan in Henan province. It became operational in September 2020.

"Crossing mountains with tunnels and spanning valleys with bridges is the modern version of Yugong," said Li Zhenyu, an executive with Shanxi Roads and Bridges, the company that built the road.

"Connecting to the region's major expressways, the road can offer Yangcheng easy access to the rest of Shanxi, to neighboring Henan and to the entire country," Li said."This will be a vital channel to aid the flow of cargo and attract tourists to Yangcheng."

Fengcheng, the county seat of Yangcheng, is famous for its ceramics industry. The industry has grown rapidly in recent years as a result of improved transport.

The Fengcheng Ceramics Industry Park is home to 21 large and medium-sized producers. They produce 200 million square meters of tiles a year in total.

In Manghe township, the last stop of the expressway in the county and the province, tourism has grown into a pillar industry thanks to an increasing number of tourists from both Shanxi and Henan.

Located in the Taihang Mountains, its local attractions include several nature reserves, dense forests, rising cliffs and deep valleys.

Near a crystal-clear stream and the Manghe National Nature Reserve, Xingxi village in the township is among the beneficiaries of the tourism industry boosted by easier road connections.

"Xingxi used to be famous for its beekeeping industry. High-quality local honey products have earned it the nickname 'sweet village'," said Ji Yanfei, head of the villagers' committee. "And now, life is even sweeter here as locals have earned more incomes from diversified industries, especially rural tourism."

The Yangcheng-Jiyuan Expressway is just one example of Shanxi's rapid development in transport.

According to the Shanxi Department of Transportation, more than 5,700 kilometers of expressways have been built in the province since its first was built in 1993.


Wang Pei contributed to this story.