What began on August 14 as a simple traffic jam on the National Highway 207 in northern China’s Hebei province has transformed into an 11-day+ jam that may not come undone until sometime in mid September.
It all started when the Beijing-Tibet Highway was shut down for repairs on August 13th. Disgruntled truck drivers detoured over to the National Expressway 110, causing what soon became a gridlock like no other.
The traffic now covers over 62 miles and includes hundreds of bored, stranded drivers; the remnants of auto accidents galore; and a slew of abandoned or broken-down vehicles. During a good day, a driver might be able to move his or her vehicle a bit over a mile—though even that is an unlikely scenario.
Drivers have for the most part been spending their time chatting, playing card games, and negotiating with the hundreds or so local villagers who have lined the highway to sell food and supplies.
Unfortunately, the locals have increased the price on everything in the hope of capitalizing on the frustrated drivers’ needs. The Telegraph reported “hundreds of peasants swarming over the fields with farm carts filled with bottled water and boiled rice and veg, marking out their pitch by the roadside and making an absolute killing.”
I must admit that this is the worst traffic jam I’ve ever seen. Even in India traffic never become this congested. If nothing else, this unfortunate situation will at least hopefully provide a smile to some disgruntled driver about to commit a 187 because traffic is moving “so slowly” on the New Jersey Turnpike.