August 28, 2010 in Nation/World

New megajam snarls China traffic

Scott Mcdonald Associated Press

BEIJING – China’s monster traffic jam has reared its head again, with trucks and cars backed up for as many as 18 miles today on a highway north of Beijing, although that is a third the size of what it was.

The traffic jam came four days after the break-up of an even bigger one – stretching to 60 miles at one point.

State media said the latest jam on the Beijing-Tibet highway was caused by an accident and road maintenance.

The worst of the jam started in Zhangjiakou, a city about 90 miles northwest of Beijing, and stretched into Inner Mongolia in northern China, with traffic creeping along in fits and starts.

In the last traffic jam on the Beijing-Tibet highway, which started Aug. 14 and lasted about 10 days, state media said some drivers were stuck for five days with drivers on the worst-hit stretches passing the time sitting in the shade of their immobilized trucks, playing cards, sleeping on the asphalt or bargaining with price-gouging food vendors.

The main reason traffic has increased on the partially four-lane highway is the opening of coal mines in the northwest, vital for the booming economy, which this month surpassed Japan’s in size and is now second only to America’s.

Officials eased the first jam by directing truckers to take a 180-mile-long detour, the China Daily said.

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