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Chinese traffic jam stretches 60 miles, ten days
Published on: 2010-08-24
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Did you have a bad commute today? How long did you sit in traffic — an hour, maybe two? Thousands of motorists in China have been stuck for ten days in a jam that goes on for more than 60 miles.

Road construction started the jam August 14 in China’s Heibei Province on a major highway headed toward Beijing. The snarl got worse as some vehicles collided and others broke down. Officials say the backup could continue for a month because the road project is expected to last about that long.

The stretch of highway, which is a vital route for produce, coal and other supplies shipped to Beijing. It has become increasingly prone to big jams as the capital (home to more than 20 million people) consumes more and more goods. Growing numbers of heavy trucks hauling the freight cause damage to the roads which in turn need more traffic-slowing maintenance.

China has pushed hard in recent years to expand its road network. In many cases, though, traffic has grown a lot faster that the roads’ ability to carry it. Heavy traffic is common around many Chinese cities but the ten-day jam is outside the norm. The extreme congestion reportedly has developed its own economy as merchants sell food, water and other essentials to stranded drivers at inflated prices.

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