[6] Reason for the Three Rings Highway

Social Aspect

The road network of Tianjin was complex before the construction of three rings highway. Firstly, the city were expanded along the meandering Heihe River, naturally leading to a irregular pattern of the road network. Secondly, the eight-nation concession had constructed the streets and roads in their own ways, causing different road width and road pattern. Tianjin’s road network gradually became like an unorganized and twisted fishing net. The illogical and thoughtless road planning led to problem of traffic chaos in Tianjin. From 20th century to 1980, there was a strange phenomena that “汽車沒有走路快” (walking is faster than driving). The situation was even worse after Tangshan earthquake.

1976 earthquake


Nanjing Road, Tianjin 1976


Three Rings highway is one of reconstruction project after the earthquake. Tangshan earthquake which occured on July 28, 1976 is believed to be the largest earthquake of the 20th century. Tangshan earthquake severely affected nearby Tianjin City. There were total 64% of housing were damaged, 14% of them were torn down by earthquake, above 30% of schools, hospitals, public facilities, commercial buildings, street and roads were destroyed.Tianjin was one of an important industrial cities in China in 1976. The earthquake had threaten industrial production capacity in Tianjin. Originally, there were total 18 million square meters of factories in Tianjin, 42% of them were damaged significantly after the earthquake. The surrounding roads and bridges were mostly destroyed as well. The economic losses is about 3.92 billion. In 1978,”The outline of the overall planning of Tianjin City” stated the mission of reconstruction project after the earthquake, aiming to rebuild Tianjin as a modern, a new socialist city with urban and rural integration.

Traffic Congestion is a severe problem in Tianjin as population increased speedily. Traffic congestion was a common phenomenon happened everyday. The government decided to build the highway in 1985 with three rings and fourteen arterial roads to shorten the distance between the city and suburb.

Economic Aspect
Before 1949, Tianjin was a second largest industrial and commercial city in China. However, because of the earthquake and the rapid development of the southeast coast, human resources have been concentrated in Beijing. Tianjin’s economic growth was once lower than the national average. In order to boost economic growth, a completed road infrastructure was needed urgently. Another reason of constructing three rings high way is to build reputation of Tianjin Government, creating a good investment environment. Three rings highway could also promote the economic development for both city and suburb.

Environmental Aspect
Li Ruihuan who was a Chinese politician in charging of the repair construction of Tianjin emphasized that, a city cannot expanded outward from the center infinitely. A reason of building an outer ring is to delineate a city boundary and thus avoid urban sprawl. In order to prevent wind-blown sand, an urban river landscape and greenbelt with width of 500 m were built along the outer ring.



魏艳. “天津市“三环十四射”工程.” January 30, 2011.
杨鸿远. “天津市三环十四 射干道建设.” 天津市市政工 程勘测设计院: 6-14.

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