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China's first expressway to go toll-free from 2012

(Xinhua)

17:15, December 29, 2011

SHANGHAI, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- China's first expressway, which was built in 1984 in Shanghai, will operate toll-free from the beginning of 2012, the municipal government announced Thursday.

The Municipal Commission of Urban and Rural Construction and Communications said the 18-km expressway linking Shanghai's downtown with the Jiading district in its western outskirts will have its toll stations dismantled and operate toll-free from Jan. 1, 2012.

Expensive expressway tolls have been criticized by the Chinese public for years, as people believe expressways should be toll-free once investors recoup their investments and charge enough for road maintenance.

The Shanghai commission did not disclose when the investment of 230 million yuan (36 million U.S. dollars) for the construction of the Shanghai-Jiading Expressway was recovered.

The toll exemption has been seen as the local government's response to a circular jointly issued by five Chinese ministries in June to check expressway toll collections.

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