They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
But, for a group of locals in north-eastern China, the road through Taihang Mountain is surfaced with blood, sweat and tears.
That’s because 800 residents of Changzhi are responsible for constructing one of the range’s most impressive – and frequently-used – highways in the Shanxi province, southwest of Beijing.
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Now that’s an accomplishment! Locals in Changzhi, Shanxi province, manually constructed the road on Taihang Mountain
According to a report on China’s People Daily, the six-mile route was literally hand-crafted by communities frustrated with the area’s poor connectivity in 1968.
To combat this, they simply galvanized local man-power to build the solution.
It’s claimed 800 workers spent two years living on-site at the mountain – which was formed during the mountain-building process of the Jurassic Period – drilling through five naturally-occurring culverts with primitive tools.
After several months the initial foundations were outlined, before the inside of tunnels were excavated and reinforced.
It’s believed the rest of the development took ten years to complete, which saw barriers constructed at the side of the exposed cliff-face and the road’s surface swept for use.
Impressive: the highway stretches for more than six miles and offers users a stunning view of the local skyline
Basic, but effective: To this day the road remains in its original condition – unpaved, except for sand and pebbles
The range between the highest and lowest points is 650 feet and it boasts a slope of more than 30 degrees. Dramatic views of the local skyline that are presented along the way have been dubbed a favourite by TripAdvisor users.
The road – which features dramatic twists and turns – remains unpaved to this day and is instead covered with earth and pebbles, so drivers experience a bumpy ride.
One reason for the lack of a proper surface is likely the fact that, until recently, the road’s history has been largely undocumented.
A life’s work: It took months just to lay the initial foundations, before the inside of tunnels were excavated and reinforced
Man-made: A cyclist enjoys a peaceful ride through the tunnels, which were painstakingly created by hard-working locals
Not that this is the only smart construction in the area, of course.
It also boasts the so-called ‘Heavenly Road’ – a 5,000ft-long route, which is a shortcut to the Jingdi Village at the mountain foot. Local villagers spent 15 years building the road.
Likewise, in 2012, contemporary generations built a 300ft spiral staircase on the wall of mountain to offer the thrill of mountaineering without the danger.
The impressive range encompasses 250 miles from north to south and runs through Shanxi, Henan and Hebei provinces. Most peaks range from 5,000 to 6,500ft, with the principal peak of Xiao Wutaishan reaching 9,455ft.
Wow-factor: The ‘heavenly road’ along the waist of the Taihang Mountains in Pingshun County, Shanxi Province, north China