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Now, monster traffic jams hit Beijing

world Updated: Sep 20, 2010 13:34 IST

PTI
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The monster traffic jams which have become a norm in and around Beijing stretching upto 100 kms and lasting for days have now started paralysing the Chinese Capital as the city is choked with 4.5 million vehicles.

Beijing was choked by 88 traffic jams on Sunday morning in addition to a record 140 traffic jams that paralysed the city's roads on Friday last with the number of vehicles on road exceeding 4.5 million, City's traffic management bureau said.

As of September 12, there were 6.1 million drivers and 4.5 million registered motor vehicles on the streets of the capital, according to figures from the bureau.

As a result China's famed infrastructure including its sprawling multi-lane highways as well as urban road infrastructure is increasingly coming under strain in the recent months leaving the government nonplussed.

Outside city, the Beijing-Tibet highway is increasingly getting blocked for days together with heavy trucks bringing coal to the energy hungry metropolis while growing number of vehicles jammed the city roads.

To minimise bottlenecks, Beijing now limits the number of cars that may be on the road during the week, according to the last number of vehicle license plates.

Traffic was moving slower than 20 km per hour on 88 trunk roads and expressways in Beijing at 9 am on Sunday, official media reported. The morning rush extended an extra hour, China Daily reported.

Last Wednesday, the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau warned that the city's roads were exhibiting pre-festival symptoms, as "residents made more trips during off-peak hours and at night".

"Shopping, visiting friends and relatives, and party going will contribute to major traffic flows on the city's ring roads before the national holidays," it said.

The three-day holiday for the Mid-Autumn Festival, when families traditionally gather and exchange gifts, starts on Wednesday and the seven-day holiday for National Day begins on Oct 1.

The traffic bureau said Beijing will be further tested on Sept 25, 26 and Oct 9, which will once again be considered work days without traffic restrictions.

With Sunday considered a work day, the subway system responded to the challenge by keeping train capacities as high as on regular work days, a move it plans to repeat on the days before and after the two holiday periods.