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China to build highway on Everest

China will start building a highway on 29,000-feet-high Mount Everest next week.

The existing 108 kilometer (67-mile) unpaved road that goes from an altitude of 5.2 kilometer above sea level to the mountain foot will be blacktopped the Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday. Construction will take slightly more than four months and about $20 million (€14.9 million) is planned to be invested in the project.

In April, the organizing committee of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics said the world's highest mountain has been included in the Olympic torch relay route. The new highway will ease the task of taking the torch to the mountain top. Besides, China hopes the new road will increase the number of tourists willing to climb the mountain. (