Tarim Desert Highway

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PetroChina gas station in the middle of the desert

The Tarim Desert Highway (Chinese: 塔里木沙漠公路; pinyin: Tǎlǐmù Shāmò Gōnglù), also known as the Cross-Desert Highway (CDH) or Taklamakan Desert Highway, crosses the Taklamakan Desert from North to South in China. There are now three highways: two main highways and one branch highway.[1][2][3]

Lunmin Highway[edit]

This highway links the cities of Luntai (Chinese: 轮台) on National Highway 314 and Minfeng (Chinese: 民丰) on National Highway 315, on the northern and southern edges of the Tarim Basin. The total length of the highway is 552 km; approximately 446 km of the highway cross uninhabited areas covered by shifting sand dunes, making it the longest such highway in the world.


Construction on the highway began in 1993 because of expansion in the petroleum industry, requiring fast shipping across the Taklamakan desert. Construction was completed in 1995.

Along the highway. The vegetation on each side can be seen, as well as a blue pump house in the distance.


To prevent the shifting sands from covering the highway, bushes and other vegetation were planted next to the highway to anchor the sand with their roots. A massive irrigation system was constructed to pump water for the vegetation along the highway.


At the halfway point along the desert highway, there are a few restaurants and a gas station. Except for pump house maintenance workers, the region is otherwise entirely uninhabited.

Gallery of Lunmin Highway[edit]

Taqie Highway[edit]

This highway, 156 km long, is a branch highway, connecting Tazhong (Chinese: 塔中) on the Lunmin Highway, above, with Qiemo (Chinese: 且末) in the southeast direction on National Highway 315. It opened in 2002, and is called the autonomous region's S233 Highway.

Ahe Highway[edit]

This highway, 424.77 km long, opened in 2007, starts from Aral (Chinese: 阿拉尔) on National Highway 314, west of the historical town of Kucha (Chinese: 库车), in Aksu Prefecture (Chinese: 阿克苏地区), goes southward along the Hetian River, and ends in Hetian (Chinese: 和田) on National Highway 315.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°54′N 83°49′E / 38.900°N 83.817°E / 38.900; 83.817