A 100-kilometer traffic jam near the Chinese capital that officials say could last until mid-September has become a symbol of the dark side of China's love affair with the automobile. Officials say traffic has been snarled along the outskirts of Beijing and is stretching toward the border of Inner Mongolia ever since roadwork on the Beijing-Tibet Highway started Aug. 13. The following week, parts of a major road circling Beijing were closed, further tightening overburdened roadways.So much for Chinese efficiency.
As the jam on the highway, also known as National Highway 110, passed the 10-day mark Tuesday, local authorities dispatched hundreds of police to keep order and to reroute cars and trucks carrying essential supplies, such as food or flammables, around the main bottleneck. There, vehicles were inching along little more than a third of a mile a day. Zhang Minghai, director of Zhangjiakou city's Traffic Management Bureau general office, said in a telephone interview he didn't expect the situation to return to normal until around Sept. 17 when road construction is scheduled to be finished and traffic lanes will open up.
Villagers along Highway 110 took advantage of the jam, selling drivers packets of instant noodles from roadside stands and, when traffic was at a standstill, moving between trucks and cars to hawk their wares.
After living in Los Angeles and communting on the 405 freeway, I thought I had seen it all. Apparently not. From the WSJ: