China's massive traffic jam could last for weeks

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 25, 2010 07:38

BEIJING  — China has just been declared the world's second biggest economy, and now it has a monster traffic jam to match.

Triggered by road construction, the snarl-up began 11 days ago and was 60 miles (100 kilometers) long at one point. Reaching almost to the outskirts of Beijing, traffic still creeps along in fits and starts, and the crisis could last for another three weeks, authorities say.

In the worst-hit stretches of the road in northern China, drivers pass the time sitting in the shade of their immobilized trucks, playing cards, sleeping on the asphalt or bargaining with price-gouging food vendors. Many of the trucks that carry fruit and vegetables are unrefrigerated, and the cargoes are assumed to be rotting.

On Sunday, the eighth day of the near-standstill, trucks moved less than a mile (just over a kilometer) on the worst section, said Zhang Minghai, a traffic director in Zhangjiakou, a city about 90 miles (150 kilometers) northwest of Beijing. China Central Television reported Tuesday that some vehicles had been stuck for five days.


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