Yunnan-Tibet Highway

Yunnan-Tibet Highway is the link between Kunming, Yunnan Province and Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous region. According to plan, the highway will experience four stages, Yunnan-Tibet Highway, New Yunnan-Tibet Highway, Yunnan-Tibet High Grade Highway and Yunnan-Tibet Expressway. Yunnan-Tibet Highway passing through Deqin County is also called Yunnan-Tibet North Line, Yunnan-Tibet Highway passing through Zayu County, that is New Yunnan-Tibet Highway, is called Yunnan-Tibet South Line. The future Yunnan-Tibet high grade highway, which includes some expressway sections and highland high grade highway, is a part of the 800-kilometer Lhasa-Nyingchi freeway under construction in Tibet. As for Yunnan-Tibet Expressway, it will only be a dream for a long time. At present, New Yunnan-Tibet Highway has been opened to traffic, and the distance between Yunnan and Tibet is shortened by 259 kilometers. 

Basic Information

Chinese Name 滇藏公路
English Name Yunnan-Tibet Highway
Beginning and Ending Kunming Yunnan-Lhasa Tibet
Old Highway 1398 kilometers; Opened to traffic in 1976; Passing through Deqin County; Seasonal Traffic
New Highway 1139 kilometers; Passing through Zayu County; Four Seasons open to traffic
Future Direction Yunnan-Tibet High Grade Highway
Distant Dream Yunnan-Tibet Expressway
Problems Complex terrain, long distance, difficult construction

1. Original Yunnan-Tibet Highway

The Yunnan-Tibet Highway, which was built and opened in 1976, spans the Jinsha River, Lancang River and Nujiang River. It crosses more than 10 snow mountain passes, which are over 4000 meters above sea level, along the route. The traffic conditions are poor, seasonal traffic problem is prominent. Surely, It is still used.

The route of Old Yunnan-Tibet Highway is Kunming-Xiaguan of Dali CityLijiangYulong Snow Mountain and Haba Snow MountainShangri-La-Jinsha River-BenzilanDeqin CountyYanjingMarkam County-Bangda(邦达)-Lhasa.

2. New Yunnan-Tibet Highway

Most sections of Yunnan-Tibet Highway after upgrading are located in the low altitude area of the Nujiang River, with an average elevation of 2000 to 3000 meters, which can guarantee the traffic of vehicles all the year round, and the capacity of transportation support will be greatly improved. The distance was shortened by 259 kilometers. 

The route is Kunming-Dali City-Yunlong County of Dali Prefecture-Lushui CityFugong CountyGongshan CountyZayu County-Rawu Town(然乌镇)-Lhasa.

3. Yunnan-Tibet High Grade Highway

Make the New Yunnan-Tibet Highway upgrade to the future Yunnan-Tibet high grade highway, it is necessary to upgrade some secondary and third class highways of the New Yunnan-Tibet Highway to the first class highway(High Grade Highway). This upgrade will take decades, at least 30 or 40 years. This is because the New Yunnan-Tibet Highway is still improving some grade four highways into third class highways. It will take more than a decade to build itself completely, and then to upgrade on its basis, at least for another decade.

4. Yunnan-Tibet Expressway

At present, the expressway is just a dream, because there is no need to build the Yunnan-Tibet high grade highway recently after the completion of Yunnan-Tibet Railway, let alone to build the Yunnan-Tibet Expressway. The highland areas require more open and relatively convenient high-grade highways rather than closed expressways. Therefore, Yunnan-Tibet expressway will only be a dream for a long time.