The plan to build a new expressway for the G109 road on the periphery of western Beijing has been recently approved by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform. It is the first expressway in the mountainous western part of the Chinese capital.
The new road, located in Mentougou district, begins from West Sixth Ring Road and extends westward to the Beijing-Hebei border. The 65-kilometer expressway has a designed speed of 80 kilometers per hour, and would reduce travel time from more than two hours to less than one hour upon completion.
The old G109 was built in the 1960s, and drivers have been raising issues with the road’s narrowness and difficulties zigzagging through the mountains for years. Mentougou district proposed to upgrade the road in 2013, and finally secured approvals to build the new expressway.
Mentougou district is home to several areas requiring ecological and environmental protection, including the Yongding River water source protection zone. The plan of the expressway was therefore adjusted several dozen times, according to an official of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform. The finalized construction plan has the expressway to cross the protection zone three times, down from eight time in previous drafts. Notably, 83% of the road will go over bridges and through tunnels, minimizing use of land.
According to the plan, construction of the expressway will begin within this year and finish in 2023. It is expected to greatly improve transportation in western Beijing as well as contribute to local development.