Guangdong and island province Hainan have decided to build a bridge connecting the island with the mainland.
Construction of the 26.3-kilometer bridge spanning the Qiongzhou Straits will begin in 2012, according to the project office Monday.
The 20-billion-yuan (US$2.9-billion) bridge, linking Xuwen County in Zhanjiang City, Guangdong, and Chengmai County in Hainan, will have two levels, a railway bridge and a road bridge. The railway bridge will have a designed speed limit of 160 kilometers per hour while the road bridge speed limit will be 100 kmph.
On completion in 2020, it will take only 20 minutes to drive across the Straits. The travel time across the Qiongzhou Straits by ferry is currently about five hours.
The bridge will link Hainan to an advanced expressway network in Guangdong. It is expected to provide easy access not only for tourists from other parts of the country but also for overseas investment, according to economists.
Poor infrastructure has remained a stumbling block to the island's growth.
Hainan now heavily depends on air and water transport.
Hainan's land transport is dependent on ferries crossing the Qiongzhou Straits to reach Hai'an County on Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong.