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100-km traffic jam stretches along northern China's highway

posted 21 Jul 2011, 05:51 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 Jul 2011, 05:56 ]

Chinese state media reports a 100-kilometre (62.14 miles) traffic jam along a highway in northern China's Inner Mongolia.

HOHHOT, INNER MONGOLIA, CHINA. CCTV -A traffic jam reaching 100 kilometers (62.14 miles) continued to block a highway in northern China's Inner Mongolia, state media reported on Thursday (July 21).

The severe build-up came as a result of reconstruction and expansion projects on the Inner Mongolia section of the Beijing-Tibet Highway which began on July 10.

A long queue of vehicles, mostly trucks, was seen crawling along the highway from the city of Ulanqab to the regional capital of Hohhot, taking some drivers over 40 hours to complete the 100 kilometer drive, official Xinhua news agency said.

The road construction and expansion work blamed for the giant jam is expected to take two years to finish, though many drivers complained that they didn't see any plans for diversions or alternate routes.

Many drivers opted to take a risk entering the notoriously congested highway, not knowing whether they would find a proper detour, or be stranded for days. Once caught in the traffic, they find few options for escape.

"I know. But nobody is directing the traffic. It's too difficult to pass through from here," one driver said.

Many drivers said they hoped local police would help divert traffic and post traffic signs ahead of the blocked sections to reduce or eliminate future congestion problems.

Though many drivers know they may face traffic congestion on the highway it is still the preferred route of many drivers.

"If I go to Baotou by taking Provincial Highway S31, I would earn nothing. If I wait here, it only costs me some money on meals and I can save fuel. As the toll fees are the same on G6 and Provincial Highway S31, I would rather have my time wasted," one driver said.

Surging coal transportation has been blamed for traffic build-ups on the Beijing-Tibet highway, which also serves as the major highway for the country's largest coal-producing region.

Last August the highway experienced a similar traffic jam, stretching up to 100 kilometers and stranding drivers for nine days.