60-mile jam 'will last for weeks'
Published 24/08/2010 | 08:33
A 60-mile traffic jam in China which has lasted 10 days because of road construction in Beijing is likely to continue into the middle of next month, an official has said.
The bumper-to-bumper gridlock can have cars moving little more than a half-mile each day since August 14, although it has improved since this weekend, according to Zhang Minghai, director of Zhangjiakou city's Traffic Management Bureau.
But he said he is not sure when the Beijing-Zhangjiakou road would return to normal.
The section of road is often congested, especially since large coalfields were discovered in Inner Mongolia, Mr Zhang said. Traffic volume has increased by 40% every year.
Beijing-bound drivers caught in the gridlock, located in the Inner Mongolia region and Hebei province, passed the time by sleeping, walking around, or playing cards and chess.
Local villagers are doing brisk business selling instant noodles, boxed lunches and snacks, weaving between the parked trucks on bicycles.
The Beijing motorway construction causing the jam "will not be finished until September 17," Mr Zhang said.
He added that authorities are trying to speed up traffic by allowing more trucks to enter Beijing, especially at night. They have also asked trucking companies to suspend their operations and urged drivers to take alternative routes.
China's roads are increasingly choked because of the increasing number of vehicles, especially commercial trucks, in the country.
Traffic slowdowns because of construction and accidents are common in China, though a 10-day traffic jam is unusual.