Thousands of motorists have been caught up in a 60-mile, 11-day tailback on the National Expressway 110 between the capital Beijing and Inner Mongolia – setting the new world record for the Longest traffic jam.
The World’s Longest traffic jam, was caused by a flood of cargo-bearing heavy trucks and compounded by road work. Traffic officials had estimated the Longest traffic jam in the World would last until mid-September.
While many motorists took detours, some ended up trapped for up to five days, sleeping in their cars and taking shifts behind the wheel.
Others played cards to pass the time and chatted by the roadside as 400 police were drafted in to ensure the communal road rage was kept in check.
Not caused by closure or natural disaster, this all-time tie-up cause was simply the result of too many vehicles clogging the road, particularly a bevy of heavy trucks carrying construction supplies into Beijing, ironically for road work that was intended to help ease congestion.
Traffic on the China National Highway 110 had grown 40 percent every year in the previous several years, making the highway chronically congested. The traffic volume at the time of the incident was 60% more than the designated capacity.
The cause of the traffic jam was reported to be a spike in traffic by heavy trucks heading to Beijing, along with National Highway 110’s maintenance work that began five days later. The road construction which reduced the road capacity by 50% contributed heavily to the traffic jam and was not due to be completed until mid-September. Police reported that minor breakdowns and accidents were compounding the problem.
Locals near the highway sold various goods like water, instant noodles, and cigarettes at inflated prices to the stranded drivers. A bottle of water normally cost 1 yuan, but on the highway it was sold for 10 yuan. Drivers also complained that the price of instant noodles had more than tripled. Some vendors created mobile stores on bicycles.
Authorities tried to speed up traffic by allowing more trucks to enter Beijing, especially at night. They also asked trucking companies to suspend operations or take alternate routes.By late August 2010, the traffic jam largely dissipated, reportedly due to the efforts of authorities. Between Beijing and Inner Mongolia, only minor traffic slowdowns were reported near toll booths.