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Regional Development Gets Impetus As Infrastructure Sees Faster Steps

China Daily| Updated: October 11, 2022


An aerial view of the Zhongjiang-Suining Highway in Sichuan province. [Photo/China Daily]

With China's construction sector kicking into high gear this year, more state-owned enterprises are doubling down on infrastructure, pushing ahead more new projects to inject impetus into economic growth.

Recently, a new highway linking Zhongjiang county in Deyang and Suining in Sichuan province began operating, which has "greatly enhanced the role of the provincial capital Chengdu in driving the regional economy".

Constructed by China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp Ltd (CR24), a unit of State-owned enterprise China Railway Construction Corp, the Zhongjiang-Suining Highway has a total length of 83 kilometers and a designated speed of 100 kilometers per hour, and functions as a key thoroughfare for vehicles coming in and out from the east Chengdu plateau.

"Considering the significance of the highway in regional development, the project team has been going the full speed on the project after the launch in 2019 regardless of various headwinds, including the COVID-19 pandemic," Yu Wenjie, Party chief of the project team in CR24.

Located in southwestern China, the project brought to the team much additional work due to factors such as geological conditions, rainy seasons and the work of relocating neighboring pipelines, power lines and tunnels. The route was planned to be built through residential areas, making resettlement work a key part of the project apart from the construction.

"The project is supposed to improve local livelihoods and not to bring much inconvenience to residents. We hold this as a basic principle during our work," Yu said, adding that before the resettlement work started, the plan had to be negotiated and then accepted by the team and each household affected in the project.

CR24 said some 40 temporary housing units were built by the construction team for the residents before formal residences were readied for them, and 47 bases were completed for new homes.

"Rural residents applauded and were very cooperative with our construction work. Builders missing out on dinners at the construction site never suffered from hunger as residents would invite them to their homes," Yu said.

With the opening of the highway, transportation between the two counties has been shortened by more than 30 minutes to less than a 50-minute drive and the better connection among the neighboring cities of Chengdu — Mianyang, Deyang and Suining — will bring more benefits to the residents and overall development of the region.

Investment in infrastructure rose 8.3 percent year-on-year in the first eight months of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Behind the upbeat reading and the SOE's efforts is the country's channeling of more support for infrastructure construction amid national efforts to catalyze domestic demand and sustain economic recovery.

The State Council executive meeting announced recently that the quota of policy-backed and development-oriented financial instruments would be expanded by another 300 billion yuan ($42.2 billion) to better fund major infrastructure projects.

Prior to this, an amount of 300 billion yuan had already been allocated via such instruments, namely two funds operated by the China Development Bank and the Agricultural Development Bank of China, respectively.

The country will continue to leverage the role of the special-purpose bonds in boosting effective investment, with a focus on new infrastructure and new energy projects, said Ou Wenhan, assistant finance minister, at a recent news conference.