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Quake Closes Major Highways, Expressways in SW China

Monday's major earthquake closed several major highways and expressways in southwestern Sichuan and northwestern Shaanxi provinces, according to the Ministry of Transport.

Transport along the expressway linking Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu and Mianyang city had been halted since 3:30 p.m., the ministry said in a statement.

By 8 p.m., the conditions of two highways running through Wenchuan County in Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, Sichuan Province, where the epicenter was located, remained unknown due to communications failures, it said.

Traffic was interrupted along several national and provincial highways through Aba, it added.

Landslides struck several highways in neighboring Shaanxi Province while the national highway linking it with Sichuan Province remained in operation, the statement said.

The local transport departments have been engaged in repairing damaged roads.

The quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County of Sichuan Province at 2:28 PM on Monday.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2008)

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