China's Highway System Growth Paves the Way to a Stronger Economy
April 01, 2011 at 06:00 AM EDT
What some have called "the worst traffic jam in human history" happened on the Beijing-Tibet Highway in August 2010 . It trapped some drivers for more than 20 days and stretched more than 60 miles (97 kilometers). The mess was so severe that local residents turned into vendors and profited from selling water, noodles and nuts to stalled travelers. The cause of the auto standstill was thousands of trucks transporting coal from Inner Mongolia's coal fields to power plants in Beijing's suburbs to satisfy the country's surging electricity demand. The lack of railways connecting the two regions often results in trucks crowding highways, and excessive road damage from heavy vehicles blocks parts of the highway from maintenance.