■ 09:34 (UTC+08:00), 22 DEC 2010 | CHN BEIJING
■ ITEM FIRST POSTED BEFORE 01 JUL 2011
This bit of National Expressway G45 in south Beijing that just opened in early December 2010 is pretty short in length, and yet it forms part of the bigger Daqing-Guangzhou (Daguang) Expressway in China. Beijingers (as of this post) are only getting the stretch from the old Beijing-Kaifeng (Jingkai) Expressway to the next exit, the Luqiu Highway, open. To make sure that cars don’t overwhelm the exit, for the time being, the expressway is being confined to a single file, oddly enough.
I drove on this stretch of the expressway just for the sake of it. Unlike the old Jingkai Expressway, the new Daguang Expressway feels much smoother (especially on the way back) as it has little traffic flow (for now) and sports three lanes per direction instead of two.
Once upon a time, the old expressway ended a few miles away from the boundary with Hebei province, and nobody thought it’d continue further south as nearby Hebei simply didn’t get on with the programme and build its part. The new expressway solves the connection issue, so to speak, with Hebei. When the whole thing will have opened later in December 2010, travel to parts further south — in fact as far south as He’nan province — should be pretty zippy.
Heading back north, you get great views of a bit of rural, somewhat untouched southern Beijing. It’s only in this bit of the capital that you see no mountains around you! (Our capital is surrounded by mountains in the west and north, and there’s even a hill or two further east!)
By the way, for the road geeks amongst us all, the new expressway signs are up and ready. Exits are now numbered by mileage rather going up from 1 to 2 and so forth. ■ ■ ■