The highway has two lanes for each direction, with a speed limit of 100 km per hour for cars and 80 km per hour for vans and buses. It will take only 6.5 hours to travel by road from Kunming (capital of Yunnan province) to Lijiang via Dali, and the Lijiang-Shangri-La section will be improved.
As a key expressway project for "Western Development", the Dali-Lijiang Expressway has received the biggest investment, 18.8 billion yuan ($3.1 billion), among all expressway projects in Yunnan to date.
Stretching 260 km, the Dali-Lijiang Expressway is the longest project in the province, according to Zhang Guohui, director of the Dali-Lijiang Expressway Construction Headquarter.
Linking together famous tourist attractions, the Dali-Lijiang Expressway shortens the drive for visitors. The Cangshan Mountains, Erhai Lake, Shuanglang county, Jizu Mountain, Hutiao Valley and Shangri-La all benefit from the expressway. These tourist areas will be expected to meet new development opportunities in the future.
The Dali-Lijiang Expressway is also a "Nationwide Culture Demonstration Road". From tunnel entrances and sightseeing stands to toll stations, visitors can appreciate the region’s distinct local characteristics.
Protecting and improving the eco-environment along the expressway is an important task for the construction headquarter. the orgin plants on the road were transplanted for the highway.
Before construction, the construction team counted native plant species along the expressway and worked out a transplant model. The team even changed the planned route to avoid damaging ancient trees.
In addition, the Dali-Lijiang Expressway innovatively used a remote video system to supervise construction.