Beijing: Baffled by the world's longest
traffic jam, the Chinese government has mobilised hundreds of
policemen to clear the 100 km long stretch of the Beijing-
Tibet highway, riddled with vehicles for 10 days, with the
pile up almost reaching the outskirts of the capital.
The snarl up on the highway, on a section that links
the capital to the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia was
triggered by road construction and repair.
While all sorts of vehicles appeared to have been
caught up in the jam, it was mostly caused by lengthy coal
carrying trucks, which brings fuel for the industries around
The traffic jam was currently noticed about 60 km
outside Beijing and officials hope to clear it in the next few
days with the deployment of large traffic police at various
The government has mobilised hundreds of policemen to
clear the massive pile up that has caused embarrassment here.
At several places, drivers, sick and tired of the
snarl up were bitter and angry as temperatures soared during
the day and dipped in the nights.
Many complained that local vendors were fleecing them
for food and water, charging heavy rates, in selling water for
10 yuan as against its normal price of 1 yuan.
The jam which some in Beijing say was not new in that
particular section has also brought the spotlight back on
China's soaring auto sales.
The congestion is set to peak in five years, when the
total number of cars is expected to nearly double, the Beijing
Transportation Research Centre has said in its new report.
If people continue to purchase vehicles at the current
rate of 1,900 new cars a day, the total will reach seven
million in 2015 in Beijing alone, reducing average speeds in
the city to below 15 km an hour, the report published in
official Global Times said today.
"Beijing's already a big parking lot!" complained a
taxi driver Gan during a traffic jam on the East Third Ring
"We're making another Great Wall, it's just that this
one is made of cars," he said.
By the end of 2009, Beijing had four million cars, a
growth of 17 per cent over 2008.
Experts say the urban layout forces people to buy cars
and the city planning leaves people no choice but to travel.
They say the municipal government in Beijing is
unlikely to control car numbers through economic restrictions,
as Shanghai does, because the automotive industry has
contributed a lot to the city's economic development.
Beijing already initiated measures like barring cars
carrying certain number plates a day a week. But it appears to
be making little impact.
First Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010, 18:35