Long road to the 'Sea of Death'

A drone captured this bird's-eye view of a seemingly endless road cutting across China's north-western Taklamakan Desert in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Often called the "Sea of Death", the desert is China's largest, with an area of 337,000 sq km. It is known for its extremely dry conditions, and has an average annual rainfall of just 1cm.

The new road, which will be 330km long when completed, aims to shorten travelling time between remote Qiemo county in the south and central Yuli county.

The massive infrastructure project has provided much-needed jobs for the local population.

But construction has been challenging, with workers having to withstand harsh desert conditions such as extreme cold and heat, and dust storms.

They also have to construct a reed fence to prevent sand from getting blown onto sections of freshly tarred road.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2018, with the headline 'Long road to the 'Sea of Death''. Print Edition | Subscribe