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China-Nepal Highway Fully Re-opens
    2008-08-25 14:24:34     Xinhua

The China-Nepal Highway, which was disrupted by a massive landslide a month ago, was fully re-opened to traffic on Monday.

Escorted by officers and soldiers with the No.2 detachment of the China Armed Police Forces for Transportation, a convoy of 17 fully-loaded trucks early on Monday streamed through the repaired section where the worst landslide since 1965 took place on July 25, said a spokesman surnamed Chen with the detachment.

The 827-km China-Nepal Highway, linking Lhasa and the Friendship Bridge at the border, is a key commercial link between China and countries to the south.

The Zham Port, the largest in Tibet and on the Sino-Nepal border, handles more than 70 percent of the region's trade. Trade at this border crossing was worth 280 million U.S. dollars last year.

The landslide, whose volume was estimated at 300,000 cubic meters, occurred early on July 25 on the mountainous road about 2 km from Zham and totally destroyed that section of the highway.

It was the largest such danger since the highway opened in 1965, according to the regional transport department.

The landslide, triggered by heavy rain, at one point stranded more than 1,000 people.

Experts said the geological structure along the highway on the southern face of the Himalayas is fragile and prone to landslides during the rainy season, which runs from May to September in the region.

Traffic and police authorities in Tibet Autonomous Region sent more than 200 workers and armed police to repair the road.

The soldiers and officers cleared the fallen debris, in addition to transferring 7,000 tons of materials and helping the damaged highway resume traffic 15 days ahead of schedule, according to the spokesman.

Wang Dui, chief of the No.2 detachment and an officer responsible for repairing the highway, said since the regional rainy season is not over, there is a danger of more landslides.

"The highway section that collapsed on July 25 is under surveillance around the clock in case another landslide strikes," said Wang.

 
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