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8.23.2010

epic beijing traffic jam stretches into ninth day


Think the traffic in you city is bad? Los Angeles? New York? Washington D.C? You've got nothing on Beijing. Thousands of drivers are in the middle of an epic, more than 100-kilometre (62 miles) traffic jam leading into Beijing that has lasted nine days: China's nine-day traffic jam stretches 100km.

It all started on August 14, when the Bejing-Tibet expressway slowed to a crawl due to a spike in traffic by cargo-bearing heavy trucks heading to the capital, and compounded by subsequent road maintenance work:
That stretch of highway linking Beijing with the northern province of Hebei and the Inner Mongolia region has become increasingly prone to massive jams as the capital of more than 20 million people sucks in huge shipments of goods.

Traffic slowed to a snail's pace in June and July for nearly a month, according to earlier press reports.

The latest clog has been worsened by the road improvement project, made necessary by highway damage caused by a steady increase in cargo traffic, the Global Times said.

China has embarked in recent years on a huge expansion of its national road system but soaring traffic periodically overwhelms the grid.

The congestion was expected to last into mid-September as the road project will not be finished until then, the newspaper said.
What's a stranded motorist to do? True to form, the massive traffic jam has given birth to a mini-economy of sorts, with local merchants capitalising on the stranded drivers' predicament by selling them water and food at inflated prices. Gotta love that entrepreneurial spirit.

Next time, think twice before you complain about your 40-minute commute. I've been in plenty of bad traffic jams before, but never one where I had to consider purchasing food, water and other supplies to get me through it!