Yaxi Expressway: Traversing the Clouds

One of the most impressive feats in China recently has been the Yaxi Expressway. This 240-kilometer-long road with its 270 viaducts and 25 tunnels connects the cities of Ya’an and Xichang in the Sichuan province which is quite mountainous. The road cost 3 billion dollars to be built and is a section of the Beijing-Kunming highway which is nearly 3000 kilometers long and has been in use since 2018. However, Yaxi Expressway outshines the whole of the highway because the Chinese call it the Skyroad. What is more, this is not an exaggeration as well. The road quite literally traverses the clouds at some points.

Yaxi Expressway

One of the most spectacular parts of the Yaxi Expressway is that with each kilometer it ascends 7.5 meters. Thus, earning the title “the Skyroad.”

Yaxi Expressway and the mountain

The process of constructing the highway was quite difficult maybe even more than the workers expected. As the region was quite mountainous, it took a great deal of diligence and hard work to build the highway. The workers had to overcome gas and water spurs, faults, and cracks in the rocks. Moreover, the designers of the highway prioritized preserving the natural state of the mountain and not damaging it.

Yaxi Expressway bridge

Arguably, the most important and famous parts of the highway are the Labajin Bridge and the Ganhaizi and Tiezhaizi dual spiral tunnels.

Yaxi Expressway bridge and the forest

The Labajin Bridge has one of the tallest bridge piers in the world as some of its piers are almost 200 meters long. Furthermore, these piers have a unique structure since they have four steel corners filled with concrete. The designers linked these piers with concrete slabs and they resemble a hollow box.

Yaxi Expressway through the mountain

On the other hand, the dual tunnels have the shape of spirals to decrease the effect on the natural structure of the mountain. These spiral tunnels are one-of-a-kind with their small orbits. They are quite useful too as they decrease the traveling time between destinations to nearly 10 minutes.

Yaxi Expressway during evening

All in all, the highway provides immense views of natural beauty and easy access to and through one of the toughest terrains in China.

Yaxi Expressway and fog
the road columns
the road and the mountains
China Daily