China Traffic Periodically Overwhelms The Grid

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The snarl got worse as some vehicles collided and others broke down. The stretch of highway, which is a vital route for produce, coal and other supplies shipped to Beijing. It has become increasingly prone to big jams as the capital (home to more than 20 million people) consumes more and more goods. Growing numbers of heavy trucks hauling the freight cause damage to the roads which in turn need more traffic-slowing maintenance.

Traffic has become a serious problem in China but the latest jam is a chronic example of a transport network which does not have enough roads.Traffic slowed to a snail's pace in June and July for nearly a month, according to earlier press reports.The latest clog has been worsened by the road improvement project, made necessary by highway damage caused by a steady increase in cargo traffic, the Global Times said.China has embarked in recent years on a huge expansion of its national road system but soaring traffic periodically overwhelms the grid.

Officials admit the jam could continue for another three weeks, with accidents and broken-down cars hampering efforts to keep traffic moving.Drivers, mainly of freight-carrying trucks, have had to kill time playing cards, and have complained that local people are taking advantage of them by selling food at inflated prices, the report said.The traffic stretched back all the way into the nearby provinces of Hebei and Inner Mongolia, it added.

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