World Bank has approved a loan of $150m to China for the construction of the Hubei Yiba Highway to boost access to central and western areas of the country.

The highway is a part of the national trunk expressway that connects the eastern and western regions of China and runs along the northern bank of the Yangtze River from Yichang to Badong in Hubei province.

The project includes construction of the expressway and support funding to help the Hubei province design and monitor environmental guidelines to ensure the tunnel safety, reduction of geological disasters and transport logistics.

World Bank China sector coordinator for transport office John Scales said: “These transport infrastructure investments will benefit some of the less developed and more remote areas of central and western China by accelerating their economic development through improved connections to the more developed coastal areas.”

The World Bank has financed 40 highway projects in China since 1980s.