August 25, 2010

The Great Traffic Jam of China

CARS - A massive traffic jam in northern China is in its 11th day today due to road construction in Beijing that won't be finished until September 17th.

Some drivers have been stuck in the traffic jam for 6 days and "survivors" of the traffic jam who managed to escape say they plan to take a different route in the future.

The 10 lane super-highway has been reduced to a single lane where the construction is and the gridlock behind that point stretches off into the horizon. The Chinese government is warning people to take other routes for as long as the road construction continues.

The huge traffic jam started August 14th and its not the first time. The highway is frequently known to be congested, thanks to coal being discovered in Inner Mongolia and the Chinese government has been using that coal to make gasoline to support an ever growing thirst for gasoline-powered cars.

Its ironic therefore that this traffic jam is largely due to trucks hauling coal. Traffic volume has been increasing 40% every year on the super highway due to the demand for cheap gasoline.

Stranded drivers have been well-behaved, spending their time sleeping, walking around, or playing cards and chess. Their biggest complaint is local villagers who are selling them instant noodles, boxed lunches and snacks at extortionist rates (6 to 10 times their normal value), delivering the food via bicycles.

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