Wed, Jun 20, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Beijing to build highway to Mount Everest base camp


China will build a highway on Mount Everest as part of the route for the Olympic torch relay, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

Xinhua said construction of the road, budgeted at 150 million yuan (US$19.7 million) would turn a 108km rough road from the foot of the mountain to a base camp at 5,200m "into a blacktop highway fenced by undulating guardrails."

Mount Everest is 8,848m tall.

Xinhua said construction would start next week and would take about four months and the new highway would become a major route for tourists and mountaineers.

In April, organizers for the Beijing 2008 Olympics announced plans for the longest torch relay in Olympic history -- a 137,000km, 130-day route that would cross five continents and scale Mount Everest. Taking the Olympic torch to the top of Everest is seen by some as a way for Beijing to underscore its claims to Tibet.

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