Xinhua reports from Tibet on the completion of a tunnel to the last remaining county still to be linked to the national highway system:
Teams from the two ends of the tunnel, part of a planned highway that will link Metok to the outside world, met at 10:28 a.m. after using 152 kg of explosives to blast through the remaining center section at 10 a.m.
The 3,310-meter-long Galongla Tunnel, built at an altitude of 3,750 meters, was a crucial project in the Metok Highway, said Weng Mengyong, Deputy Minister of Transport ….
Snow and rain make the mountain roads impassable for nine months of the year, and the walk out of the mountains can take about 10 hours ….
The 117-km Metok Highway, linking Metok and Bome counties, will shorten the time dramatically as the journey through the tunnel will take just half an hour.
Completion of the link is still a year away, with 90km of highway yet to be built. The report emphasises the road’s anticipated benefits for the local economy and community, though as with other development projects in Tibet, the real effects may be more mixed.