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CREC4-built 76-km highway opens to traffic in Angola2022-05-05 15:59:47

A 76-kilometer-long highway, built by the First Engineering Co Ltd of China Railway No.4 Engineering Group Co., Ltd (CREC4) and crossing the northern mountainous area in Angola, was put into full operation on April 19 local time, benefiting some 100,000 people in two cities and boosting the local economy.

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held on April 19in Angolato inaugurate the official opening of a76-kilometer-long highway in Uige Province, which links Quitexe and Ambuila, and is built by CREC4 First Engineering.

As a “big artery” in northern Angola, the Uige Province infrastructure reconstruction project starts at Quitexe and ends at Ambuila, with work on roadbeds, culverts, bridges and ancillary facilities.

Building of the highway, which started in early 2017, providing jobs to 193 local residents, helps to promote the economic development of Angola’s border area, while deepening the economic ties between China and Angola, said Duan Shiqi, head of the project from State-owned CREC4.

“The highway is part of the projects in the Belt and Road, which is being continuously expanded around the world with far-reaching influence,” he said, adding that the project is a win-win undertaking with mutual benefits to both sides.

Dubbed a “Road of Friendship” by the locals, the highway is an important artery linking the urban areas of Ambuila and Quitexe, dotted with dozens of villages of various sizes along the way as well as some firewood factories and farms, said Antonio Rosario Alex Mutunda, vice-governor of Uige Province.

“The completion of the highway is bringing convenient transportation to the two cities and the numerous beneficiaries along the route, thus promoting their economic exchanges with the outside world,” he noted.

According to Duan, when they first started the project in early 2017, they put safeguarding safety and quality of the highway as a top priority, allocating their resources in the area and strengthening their technical expertise.

By incorporating Chinese standards and specifications with the locally-adopted southern African road and bridge specification and standards, the project department strengthened its inspection on raw materials, construction techniques and quality checks, he said.

“We must provide a high-quality project, and safety is a paramount task,” Duan said, noting that no safety incidents occurred in the project.

During the construction work, the CREC4 staff members also initiated cultural exchanges with the local regions, in a bid to provide jobs for the Angolan people, said project staff Zhang Jiaqian.

At busy times, there were 40 Chinese employees and 193 local employees in building the highway, he said.

As COVID-19 pandemic came since 2020, CREC4 provided the best support it could. The project department tried every means to reserve daily necessities and anti-pandemic materials for its staff, guaranteeing the highway’s orderly construction.

The full operation of the project helped to end a history of non-graded roads linking Quitexe and Ambuila, playing a key role in boosting the regions’ flow of agricultural products and expansion of wood processing industry, Zhang said.

Currently, there are 12 ongoing construction projects undertaken by CREC4 in Angola, covering housing, municipal projects, bridges and highways and water plants, Duan said, adding that CREC4 First Engineering is building seven of them.

Born in November 1950 and now with some 23,360 staff members, CREC4 is part of the China Railway Group Limited, a centrally-administrated State-owned enterprise.

At present, CREC4’s operations are in nearly 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across China. They have also ventured into nearly 20 countries, including Angola, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Indonesia, Panama, Bangladesh and Costa Rica, said Han Xinliang, publicity chief of CREC4 First Engineering.

Liu Bo, Party secretary and chairman of CREC4, said CREC4 realized a value of 236.6 billion yuan ($37.1 billion) in newly-signed contracts in 2021.

He added that CREC4 aims to gain a value of 270 billion yuan in newly-signed contracts and a business income of 120 billion yuan in 2022.