Roads in China

Roads in China may refer to Expressways of China, China National Highways, International Roads to China, as well as other streets and roads in China. By the end of 2018, the total length of China’s expressway network reached 142,500 kilometers, the world’s largest expressway system by length, having surpassed the overall length of the American Interstate Highway System in 2011. Many of the major expressways parallel routes of the older China National Highways.

1. Expressways of China

The first modern at-grade China National Highways is the Shanghai–Jiading Expressway, opened in October 1988. The early 1990s saw the start of the country’s massive plan to upgrade its network of roads. The 7918 network, a grid of 7 radial expressways from Beijing, 9 north-south expressways, and 18 east-west expressways forms the backbone of the national expressway system. The 7918 network would be renamed the 71118 network when the number of north-south expressways were increased from 9 to 11. The names of the individual expressways are regularly composed of two characters representing start and end of expressway.

Speed Limits

The Road Traffic Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China stipulates the speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph), effective since May 1, 2004. A minimum speed limit of 70 km/h is in force. On overtaking lanes, however, this could be as high as 100 km/h to 110 km/h. Penalties for driving both below and in excess of the prescribed speed limits are enforced. Some expressways have a lower design speed of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph).


China has an extensive tollway system, which composed of nearly all expressways as well as having around 70% of the world’s tollways. Tolls are roughly around CNY 0.5 per kilometre, and minimum rates (e.g. CNY 5) usually apply regardless of distance. 

Read more about Expressways of China.

2. China National Highways

With the completion in 2008 of the five north-south and the seven east-west national arterial highways, totaling 35,000 km (22,000 mi), Beijing and Shanghai were linked by major highways, chiefly expressways, to the capitals of all provinces and autonomous regions of China, creating highway connections between over 200 cities. In 2013 the Ministry of Transport announced the “National Highway Network Planning (2013 – 2030)”, which will bring the total number of highways to 119, with 81 connecting highways between them. The total mileage will be increased to 265,000 km (165,000 mi), with increased focus on the western and less developed regions. As of 2018, China has 72 national highways. Nationwide highways often begin with the letter G, followed by three numerals. 


Five vertical and seven horizontal main routes were labelled in the former 000 series; highways in the 100 series (e.g. 102, 106) begin from Beijing(12 in total); highways in the 200 series stretch from north to south(27 in total); highways in the 300 series stretch from east to west(33 in total); highways in the 500 series are connecting roads between other national highways.

Major National Highways

G101: Beijing-Shenyang G102: Beijing-Harbin G103: Beijing-Tanggu G104: Beijing-Fuzhou
G105: Beijing-Zhuhai G106: Beijing-Guangzhou G107: Beijing-Shenzhen G108:Beijing-Kunming
G109:Beijing-Lhasa G110: Beijing-Yinchuan G111: Beijing-Jiagedaqi G204:Yantai-Shanghai
G206:Yantai-Shantou G209:Hohhot-Beihai G210: Baotou-Nanning G211: Yinchuan-Xian
G212: Lanzhou-Chongqing G213: Lanzhou-Jinghong G214: Xining-Mohan G227: Xining-Zhangye
G308: Qingdao-Shijiazhuang G315: Xining-Kashgar G316: Fuzhou-Lanzhou G317: Chengdu-Naqu
G318: Shanghai-Zhangmu G319: Xiamen-Chengdu G320: Shanghai-Ruili G321: Guangzhou-Chengdu
G324: Fuzhou-Kunming G325: Guangzhou-Nanning G328: Nanjing-Nantong G020: Beijing-Fuzhou
G025: Dandong-Lhasa G030: Beijing-Zhuhai G035: Qingdao-Yinchuan G050: Chongqing-Zhanjiang
G055: Shanghai-Chengdu G065: Shanghai-Ruili    

Read more about China National Highways.

3. International Roads to China

National Road 213 

From Yibin of Sichuan to Yunnan, cross Zhaotong, Kunming, Yuxi and Simao to Xishuangbanna, it covering 1,581 km. Now this road has been built to Simao and will soon to Jinghong. It will pass Laos and finally get to Bangkok of Thailand, which will become a more convenient passage to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

National Road 320

 National Road 320 cross Yunnan from the east to the west, via Qujing, Kunming, Chuxiong, Dali, Baoshan, Luxi to Ruili on the China-Myanmar border, covering 1,030 km.

Burma Road

It was a highway extending about 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) through mountainous terrain from Lashio, northeast Burma northeastward to Kunming, China. The Burma Road’s importance diminished after World War II, but it has remained a link in a 3,400-km road system from Yangon, Burma, to Chongqing.

Kunming–Bangkok Expressway

It is an international expressway running from Kunming, Yunnan province, People’s Republic of China, to Bangkok, Thailand via Laos It was opened in 2008.

G8011 Kaihe Expressway

It stretches from Kaiyuan to Hekou on the Vietnamese border.

Chinese-Nepalese Highway

It stretches 900 kilometers from Kathmandu in Nepal, then passing through Zhamgu Nyalam, Tingri, Shigatse, and finally getting to Lhasa in Tibet. It is about 150 km in Nepal and 750 km in Tibet. There are about 170 unsurfaced road to Tibet.

Karakoram Highway

The Karakoram Highway is a 1,300-kilometre national highway which extends from Hasan Abdal in the Punjab province of Pakistan to the Khunjerab Pass in Gilgit-Baltistan, where it crosses into China and becomes China National Highway 314.

Read more about International Roads to China.

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