Chinese drivers stuck in epic traffic jam for nine days

Accidents, breakdowns and construction projects feed highway snag that may last a month

Published August 23, 2010 7:24PM (EDT)

Friday gridlock is painful enough, but try sitting in traffic for over a week. Unfortunate motorists heading northwest from Beijing to the Heibei province are currently trapped in a traffic jam to end all traffic jams, now entering its ninth day. 

The congestion started with a spike in heavy cargo-bearing trucks on National Expressway 110 on Aug. 14, but a perfect storm of gridlock seemed to form as the days continued. Thanks to auto accidents, broken-down cars and highway construction, the traffic extends for more than 62 miles. How long is 62 miles? Picture a jam stretching from downtown Los Angeles to San Clemente, or from Brooklyn all the way to a point near the Pennsylvania border. If that doesn't sound painful enough already, the construction isn't scheduled to finish until Sept. 13. That means the traffic jam might last a month. 

Xinhua reports on what caused the congestion, and how local merchants are capitalizing on the jam by selling overpriced food to frustrated drivers. The San Francisco Chronicle observes the jam would take three days to cross, from one end to the other. The Financial Times blog sees this as a sign of things to come for rapidly developing China. Yahoo News has posted photos of cars stuck in the jam. The Chinese news organization CCTV provides video footage, courtesy of CNN: 

By Christopher Hickey

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