I’m not gonna lie, I have road rage. If I have to sit in traffic for more than 5 minutes, my blood pressure rises, I start cursing, and my less pretty, evil, alter ego unleashes itself. However, after discovering the traffic jam that is going on right now in China, I may have to take a breather,calm down and thank the heavens that I am not stuck in the mess that hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing right now.
A massive traffic jam in north China that stretches for dozens of miles hit its 10-day mark today…or maybe it’s tomorrow, the whole time difference thing is confusing, but you get the idea. Anyway, road construction in Beijing is causing bumper-to-bumper gridlock spanning for 60 miles with vehicles moving little more than a half-mile a day.
The traffic jam began on Aug. 14 on a stretch of the highway that is frequently congested. Drivers trapped in the gridlock have passed time by sleeping, walking around, or playing cards and chess. Local villagers are taking advantage of the business opportunity by selling instant noodles, boxed lunches and snacks, weaving between the parked trucks on bicycles.
Surprisingly no reports of road rage violence have been reported, but drivers have been complaining about price-gouging by villagers who are their only source of food and water. A bottle of water that normally costs 1 yuan (15 cents) is selling for 10 yuan ($1.50), while the price of a 3 yuan- (45 cent-) cup of instant noodles has more than tripled, media reports said.
The highway construction in Beijing is not due to be finished until Sept. 17. Traffic slowdowns because of construction and accidents are common, (yes, we know) though a 10-day traffic jam is unusual even in China.
Can you even begin to imagine what the outcome would be here if that kind of back up ever happened? I’m thinking price-gouging would be the least of our problems.