URUMQI, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Construction of a section of the Beijing-Urumqi Expressway in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region started on Friday, local authorities said.
The Wutongdaquan-Mulei expressway is the last section on the Beijing-Urumqi Expressway in the region.
The section measures about 515 km with four lanes. At a cost of 17.8 billion yuan (2.6 billion U.S. dollars), the work is scheduled to take three years when the expressway will be complete, said Wang Tingwu, an official with the regional transport department.
Li Hongbin, deputy director of the department, said the expressway will be a major link between China's inland regions, Central Asia and Europe and will also support the construction of the northern slope of Tianshan economic belt.
The Beijing-Urumqi Expressway stretching across the northern and northwestern of China will boost the exploitation of regional mineral resources and tourism.