Asia’s Highest Altitude Tunnel Completed, Will Link Gansu & Qinghai To Russia and Vietnam

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Op/ed By Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Asia’s Highest Tunnel, located in Northwest China’s Qilian Mountains, was fully connected on Tuesday (March 2), breaking the transport bottleneck between landlocked Gansu & Qinghai Provinces and boosting the flow of Goods and Services in the region.

The Dongshan Tunnel, part of the Sunan-Qilian section of the G213 national highway, is a key China infrastructure project to serve the Belt & Road Initiative. It is expected to significantly increase traffic flow between Gansu and Qinghai, cutting more than 400 kilometers on the previous road connections and about five hours in time.

The 3,639 meter long tunnel, built by the First Engineering Co Ltd of China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group (CTCE) has been under construction since June 2018, and has an elevation of 4,200 meters.

It was built amid harsh geological conditions and very high risks in digging & construction, according to the Project Manager. Medical issues such as altitude sickness and other ailments had to be catered for with medical specialists and a transportable hospital following the crew.

The Qilian Mountains, stretching for over 1,000 kilometers to the south of the Hexi Corridor, the main artery on the ancient Silk Road, have an average elevation of 4,500 meters, with higher mountains with elevations to 5,808 meters.

China National Highway G213

The tunnel is a key link for National Highway G213 which extends 2,827 km from Lanzhou, the provincial capital city of Gansu Province, to Mohan in Yunnan. That in turns connects with infrastructure north into Inner Mongolia, West to Xinjiang Province and Kazakhstan, and South through to connections with Vietnam. As additional northern and southern connections are developed, it will, in time, be possible to travel by train or road from Moscow to Singapore using this route.

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