The aerial photo taken on June 21 shows the newly-paved Tilonghu section of the Dongshan tourism road. Photo from the official website of Taiyuan’s municipal government

By Fu Mingli, People’s Daily

Taiyuan, North China’s Shanxi Province recently opened its newly constructed Dongshan tourism road, which connects its Xishan tourism road that opened to traffic last year and links the city’s Dongshan, Beishan and Xishan regions.

The Dongshan and Xishan tourism roads pass by 9 tourism attractions, 10 protected cultural sites, and 4 national-level traditional villages. They radiate over 100 sightseeing sites.

Combined together, the two tourism roads stretch a total of 229.5 kilometers, serving as a corridor that integrates ecology, cultural and history, and the traditions of Shanxi province. They are not only a great leisure destination for citizens, but also a tool for villages along the route to become wealthy.

Besides, the two tourism roads are also important infrastructure for the Tour of Taiyuan international road cycling race. Winding in the mountains, the colorful roads were like a rainbow that attracts great numbers of cyclers.

In response to the steep slopes in some parts, the two roads adopted switch-back curves and other methods. Besides, all the ceramic particles on the roads’ surface and hydrophilic materials buried deeper are environmentally friendly.

“We built 53 viewing platforms, service stations, and parking lots along the roads, and the retaining walls are decorated with pictures and reliefs to make the roads more appealing,” said Chen Xiaoyan, landscape designer of the two roads.

Standing on a viewing platform near the Yuquan Mountain Forest Park, tourists will be presented with a magnificent picture of blue sky, white clouds and green slopes with refreshing breezes. However, this place was a barren mountain years ago.

Taiyuan’s Dongshan and Xishan regions suffered from vegetation degradation, as well as severe land degradation due to mining activities. Their environment were seriously polluted and landscape damaged.

“We managed to avoid environmental damage as much as possible during the construction of the roads, and took multiple measures to maintain the ecology there,” said Zhang Zhihong, deputy head of the Taiyuan Municipal Transportation Bureau. A total of 79.19 hectares of land were ecologically restored during the construction, he added.

“We built forest belts of width ranging from 5 to 10 meters along the two sides of the roads, and planted a large number of apricots, viburnum sargentiis, andfalse spiraea. We also planted Sabina vulgaris and day lilies to make the landscape more natural,” said Liu Tingwei, an official with Taiyuan’s municipal gardening and greening bureau.

At present, the Dongshan and Xishan tourism roads links nearly 30 forest parks in suburban Taiyuan, and the used-to-be mining subsidence areas have become beautiful gardens that gather lush woods.

Dianzidi along the tourism road was once impoverished village without access to paved roads and water source a dozen years ago. Now, featured tourism is thriving there thanks to the newly built tourism road, and the village has built fruit-picking orchards to develop green industries.

Li Laie, a villager from Dianzidi would always sell her soybeans and buckwheat noodles on a fair at the village entrance. “It won’t take long before they are sold out,” she told the People’s Daily, adding that the village has been visited by more road trippers after the tourism road opened to traffic.

“There was even a traffic jam during the Dragon Boat Festival, which was rare before,” said Shi Goushuan, Party head of the village. According to him, the travel time between the village and downtown Taiyuan has been reduced by half, and the road has brought both tourists and wealth to the village. Dianzidi has received nearly 50,000 visitors this year, and a featured canteen in the village has generated a revenue of 600,000 yuan ($86,315).

Since the opening of the Dongshan and Xishan tourism roads, many villages along the route have opened agritainment facilities and witnessed their business thriving.

Taiyuan Xishan and Dongshan tourism roads are important infrastructure for the Tour of Taiyuan international road cycling race, attracting great numbers of cyclers. Photo from the official website of Taiyuan’s municipal government

The red-and-blue tourism road winds through the mountains. Photo from the official website of Taiyuan’s municipal government

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