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China National Highway 110 traffic jam

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China National Highway 110 traffic jam

The China National Highway 110 Traffic Jam was a recurring[1] massive traffic jam that began to form on August 14, 2010, mostly on China National Highway 110 (G110) and Beijing–Tibet expressway (G6), in Hebei and Inner Mongolia.[2][3] The traffic jam slowed down thousands of vehicles for more than 100 kilometres (60 mi) and lasted for more than ten days.[3][4][5] Many drivers were able to move their vehicles only 1 km (0.6 mi) per day, and some drivers reported being stuck in the traffic jam for five days.[5] It is considered to be one of the longest traffic jams by some media.[6][7][8]


Traffic on the China National Highway 110 had grown 40 percent every year in the previous several years, making the highway chronically congested.[5] The traffic volume at the time of the incident was 60% more than the design capacity.[9]

The cause of the traffic jam was reported to be a spike in traffic by heavy trucks heading to Beijing, along with National Highway 110's maintenance work that began five days later.[3] The road construction which reduced the road capacity by 50%[2] contributed heavily to the traffic jam and was not due to be completed until mid-September.[5] Police reported that minor breakdowns and accidents were compounding the problem.[10]

Greatly increased coal production in Inner Mongolia was shipped to Beijing along this route because of the lack of railway capacity, which overloaded the highway.[11] 602 million tons of coal were mined and shipped in 2009; production was expected to rise to 730 million tons in 2010.[11] An additional factor is efforts by overloaded trucks which lack proper paperwork for their cargo to avoid a coal quality supervision and inspection station on China National Highway 208.[11]

Creation of mini-economy

Locals near the highway sold various goods like water, instant noodles, and cigarettes at inflated prices to the stranded drivers.[3][10] A bottle of water normally cost 1 yuan, but on the highway it was sold for 10 yuan. Drivers also complained that the price of instant noodles had more than tripled.[12] Some vendors created mobile stores on bicycles.[12]


Authorities tried to speed up traffic by allowing more trucks to enter Beijing, especially at night. They also asked trucking companies to suspend operations or take alternative routes.[12]


By late August 2010, the traffic jam largely dissipated, reportedly due to the efforts of authorities.[13] Between Beijing and Inner Mongolia, only minor traffic slowdowns were reported near toll booths.[13]

Urban legends

Many serious and joke websites use unrelated photographs to illustrate the 2010 traffic jam. Many of them were taken from a photoshopped image from Interstate 405 (California), Los Angeles.[14]


  1. ^ "Monster traffic jam ... again" article by He Dan and Wang Qian in the China Daily Updated: 2010-09-04 07:35, accessed September 4, 2010
  2. ^ a b "京藏高速多路段堵车 110国道施工致通行力降50%". Tianjin net ( 
  3. ^ a b c d "China's nine-day traffic jam stretches 100km". AFP (AFP). 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  4. ^ "世界惊奇中国高速大堵车(The world is surprised by Chinese highway massive traffic jam)".  
  5. ^ a b c d Chang, Anita (2010-08-24). "China traffic jam stretching 100 kilometres could last for weeks". The Globe and Mail (The Globe and Mail). Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  6. ^ "Chinese drivers stuck in the longest traffic jam". Peter Foster ( 
  7. ^ "Gridlock is a way of life for Chinese". Jonathan Watts ( 
  8. ^ """China's 10-day traffic jam "longest ever. Ananth Krishnan ( 
  9. ^ "限行致京藏高速堵车:110国道车流超设计流量6成". 新京报 ( 
  10. ^ a b Ford, Peter (2010-08-24). "China traffic jam enters Day 11. A tale of deceit and criminality?". Christian Science Monitor (Christian Science Monitor). Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  11. ^ a b c "Bottlenecks Clog Northern Artery" 2010-09-14 08:15:51, China Daily, Web Editor: Jiang Aitao, accessed September 14, 2010; Original article at China Daily, accessed September 14, 2010
  12. ^ a b c "China's massive traffic jam could last for weeks". CTV (CTV). 2010-08-24. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  13. ^ a b "China traffic jam vanishes overnight?". The Christian Science Monitor. 26 August 2011. Archived from the original on 24 March 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  14. ^ When Photoshop is so good it’s bad. 28 Sept 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2013

External links

  • China Traffic Jam Vanishes Overnight
  • Beijing Embraces Car-Free Day in Traffic Jams | China Digital Times (CDT)
  • Report and video of the jam
    • Direct link to YouTube video

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