After 10 days of bumper-to-bumper stop-and-start congestion, a 60-mile-long, 10,000-vehicle traffic jam on a major freeway west of Beijing has been broken up, Chinese traffic authorities said on Tuesday.
The state television network CCTV said traffic had returned to normal on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou freeway, which stretches from the capital’s northwest suburbs to inner Mongolia. But traffic authorities in Zhangjiakou, about 90 miles northwest of Beijing, said the road remained crowded and that a long line of trucks was waiting at the Mongolia border for permission to enter the highway.
News reports said some drivers were trapped in the jam for days, and roadside residents, weaving on bicycles amid the stalled vehicles, made a killing by selling them food.
“The sellers come offering to sell water at crazy prices, but if you said ‘no’ or complained about the price they threaten to break your shields,” one driver told The Telegraph.
The freeway, favored by tourists visiting a popular stretch of the Great Wall, has become more crowded since large coal reserves were discovered in inner Mongolia, and trucks began hauling coal to Beijing-area power plants. Traffic came to a halt after workers began repairs on the road last week. Congestion is likely to continue until road work ends in mid-September, authorities said.