Beijing Ring Road
As a part of China National Trunk Road Network, Beijing as the capital of China is well connected to every part of China. Roads in Beijing are basically in one of four compass directions. This might be due to the traditional culture of Chinese people which prefer buildings and constructions to be in an axis way. Perhaps is due to the status of Beijing as an ancient city, an elaborated Six-ring roads which appears more likely to rectangular shape rather than ring-shaped was developed in Beijing city. The ring roads have successively surrounded the city with the Forbidden City at the geographical centre. All these roads have made up the Beijing major urban transportation. The calculation of ring roads is generally begun with the 2nd ring road which surrounds Beijing’s inner city center.
The first ring road is not officially defined but there are some records showing that there was a ring road in the inner Beijing city with electrical rail car available in the early 50s of last century. The ring road was started at Tiananmen Square directed to the west until Xidan, headed to North until Pingan Li, then changed direction to the east until Dianmen and headed North again until Gulou. Later, changed direction to the East again until Beixinqiao, then headed to the south until Dongdan and finally directed to the west until returned to the starting point at Tiananmen. Some studies concluded that this loop was the first ring road of Beijing city. However, this route is not officially recognized as the first ring road.
The second ring road of Beijing which consisted of a length of 33 km is constructed according to the former city wall of ancient Beijing. In between of the constructions for second ring road, the construction of a loop line for subway which basically surrounded the second ring road of Beijing was also taken place at the same time. The northern part of loop was built based on the inner city wall of Beijing while the southern part of loop was constructed based on the outer city wall of ancient Beijing. Upon 1992, the construction of the second ring road was finally accomplished and this ring road is the first road in China which visualized a road which has flyovers throughout all junctions without traffic lights.
The total length of third ring road is about 49 km. The east third ring road, south third ring road and north third ring road was already begun to service in 1958. However, the southwestern third ring road was opened only in the end of 1981. Therefore, enables the third ring road to be considered as the first ring road which was purposely planned and built as a result of urbanization. Many reconstruction projects as well as enlargement projects were taken place in the 1980s in order to transform third ring road into an express way. The roundabout at Yuquanying was the last section of third ring road where flyovers were completely constructed in October of 1999. Since then, the third ring road became another express ring road with flyovers throughout all junctions.
The average distance of 4th ring road to Beijing city centre is about 8 km, with total length about 65.3 km. The main road of 4th ring road consists of eight two-way lane which are fully constructed with flyovers at all junctions is considered as the best and the largest ring road throughout the history of road construction in China. Before Beijing hosted the 11th Asian Games in 1990, there are some sections of 4th ring road especially the sections from Xueyuan Road to Siyuan Qiao which located at the north 4th ring road was already completed and began to be used. However, construction of the rest sections of 4th ring road was enrolled for another ten more years. Finally in 1999, by the time when People’s Republic of China celebrated 50’s anniversary, only the construction of east 4th ring road was completed. The overall loop of 4th ring road was finally accomplished upon June of 2001.
The 5th ring road with total length of 98 km was once been considered as the most outer loop of express way in Beijing. The construction was completed in the November 2003. At the first place, the 5th ring road was service under fees required basis. However, in order to alleviate the congested traffic in Beijing city, the 5th ring road began to serve without fee from 2004 onwards.
The 6th ring road with total length of 200 km, linking suburb districts, airport, Great wall and Chengde expressways together with the Beijing city. The speed limit of 6th ring road is 100 km, because it’s the only charged ring roads in Beijing, the traffic is not heavy at all on it.