The Most Dangerous Roads in Taihang Mountains
The Taihang Mountains form a mountain range along the eastern edge of the Loess Plateau in the Chinese provinces of Henan, Shanxi, and Hebei. Extending 400 kilometers from north to south, the range boasts an average elevation of 1500 to 2000 meters.
In Chinese, these tunnel roads are referred to as "Guabi Gonglu" (挂壁公路), meaning tunnel roads hanging from steep cliff faces. They comprise sections of tunnels concealed in rocks and visible roads constructed on cliffs.
Among the most perilous roads in the Taihang Mountains, the Guoliang Tunnel Road is the most renowned. Connecting Guoliang Village to the outside through the Taihang Mountains, the final stretch is a 6-meter-wide, 4-meter-high, 1300-meter-long tunnel suspended about 100 to 400 meters high above sheer cliffs with 35 natural openings. Commencing on March 9th, 1972, villagers carved the tunnel road out of rock using their bare hands and basic tools, completing it in over 5 years. It officially opened on May 1st, 1977, in Huixian County, Henan Province.
The Kunshan Tunnel Road, the narrowest Guabi Road in the southern Taihang Mountains, links Wangmangling Scenic Area in Shanxi Province with Wanxianshan Scenic Area in Henan Province. Construction commenced in 1992, resulting in a road extending over 6 kilometers along cliffs over a deep valley, with a 2200-meter-long tunnel featuring openings to the valley. Substantial renovation and expansion took place in 2009, making it a popular attraction in Wangmangling Scenic Area, Lingchuan County, Shanxi Province.
Xiyagou Tunnel Road, a nearly 8-kilometer road on steep mountain slopes in Xiyagou Valley in the southern Taihang Mountains of Shanxi Province, was built by Xiyagou Village residents starting in 1962. The zigzag-shaped tunnel road at varying heights resembles the letter Z from afar. This challenging construction spanned over 30 years, with the road opening to traffic on June 28, 1991.
Huilong Tunnel Road, an 8-kilometer serpentine along a steep cliff with a 1-kilometer-long, approximately 8-meter-wide tunnel, began construction in November 1997 and was completed on January 10, 2002. Together with Xiyagou Tunnel Road, it links the two provinces of Henan and Shanxi through the southern Taihang Mountains.