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China has opened a new stretch of road that connects Xingshang County to the Zhaojun Bridge in central China’s Hubei province. A 4-km-long section of the 10-km route is built on top of an elevated bridge that runs along the middle of a river valley. The new route will cut down travel time from Xingshan to the Yiba Expressway to just 20 minutes, and at the same time treat drivers to a spectacular scenery. The journey originally took close to an hour along a steep and convoluted road.

According to the project manager of the road Chen Xingda, when the motorway was first proposed in 2013, there were three different possible routes. Two of the routes involved digging a tunnel through the mountains in the area. The third was a longer route and involved building on water. Engineers on the project chose the third option because that would enable them to protect the abundance of plants and woodland in the mountains. Those involved in the project claim this to be China’s first “ecological overwater road”. The overwater highway cost about 2 million yuan (US$320,000) to construct which was nearly half of the 4.4 million yuan ($700,000) it cost to build the entire thing 440 million yuan ($70 million) which is almost double of what it would have cost to build a traditional road with tunnels drilled through the mountains.

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