Beijing: A huge traffic snarl stretching
at least 120 kilometres reappeared in northern China on Thursday
with thousands of cargo trucks stuck in a bottleneck.
State television broadcast images of a long line of
mostly cargo trucks inching slowly through Inner Mongolia on a
major highway leading toward Beijing that has come to
symbolise China's traffic gridlock problem.
"You could say the highway has become a big parking
lot," a CCTV reporter at the scene said, estimating the number
of vehicles stuck in the congestion at more than 10,000.
The stretch of highway linking Inner Mongolia and the
northern province of Hebei with Beijing is among the nation's
busiest as the capital of more than 20 million people sucks in
huge shipments of goods.
Major snarls have materialised recently, which have
been blamed on highway maintenance projects and accidents.
Traffic slowed to a snail's pace in June and July for
nearly a month, according to earlier press reports. In August,
state media said some drivers were stuck in a huge traffic jam
on the route for nine days.
The traffic subsequently cleared but has worsened
again due to accidents and traffic restrictions imposed by
authorities, CCTV said.
China has embarked in recent years on a huge expansion
of its national road system but the volume traffic
periodically overwhelms the grid.
According to government data, Beijing is on track to
have five million cars on its roads by year's end. The
four-million mark was passed in December.
First Published: Thursday, September 02, 2010, 18:55