Magnificence of the Yaxi Highway
The Yaxi Highway, also referred to as the Yaxi Expressway, stands as a testament to human ingenuity and the relentless pursuit of progress. Known to be the first expressway of its kind to be built in Southwest China, it has attracted global attention for its high-altitude construction and incredible engineering feats.
Officially opened for public use on December 31st, 2012, the Yaxi Highway stretches for roughly 240 kilometers, connecting Ya’an City and Xichang City in Sichuan Province. It was built to simplify the traveling routine and thereby stimulate economic development in both cities.
One of the unique features of the Yaxi Highway is its impressive altitudinal span. The roadway ventures from 400-meters below sea level to a staggering 2,095-meters above, making it the highest altitude expressway in the world. It maneuvers through a treacherous terrain dotted with hills and mountains, precisely where its stunning architectural prowess is most pronounced.
Notably, it is characterized by a series of 270 bridges and 25 tunnels that aid in traversing the area’s complex topography with ease. The designers and engineering teams had to contend with numerous physical and technical obstacles to successfully construct the expressway. These obstacles included extreme weather conditions, steep, rugged terrain, and the risk of landslides.
The Jinhe Bridge, for instance, is one of the most recognized monuments along the Yaxi Highway. Suspended 180-meters above the Jinhe River, it is ranked as one of the highest and longest bridges in the world, further affirming the expressway’s global significance.
Today, the Yaxi Highway is not only a vital transportation route but also a popular tourist attraction. Its methodical winding through the breathtaking landscapes of the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture offers unique scenic views that attract tourists from all across the globe.