Bad news: Chinese commuters stuck in … nine-day traffic jam

posted at 6:44 pm on August 24, 2010 by Allahpundit

I keep thinking I’m misunderstanding this story somehow, that maybe what they’re saying is that travel time between point A and point B has been increased by nine days, not that people have actually been stuck on the highway for that long.

But dude — I think they are.

The traffic jam started Aug. 14 on a stretch of the highway that is frequently congested, especially after large coalfields were discovered in Inner Mongolia, Zhang said. Traffic volume has increased 40 percent every year.

Drivers stranded in the gridlock in the Inner Mongolia region and Hebei province, headed toward Beijing, passed the time sleeping, walking around, or playing cards and chess. Local villagers were doing brisk business selling instant noodles, boxed lunches and snacks, weaving between the parked trucks on bicycles.

Though there were no reports of road rage violence, drivers complained about price-gouging by villagers who were their only source of food and water.

The main area of the bottleneck is creeping along at around a third of a mile per day; Chinese authorities hope to finally get things moving by mid-September. I’m not going to ask the obvious question because I don’t want to know the answer and don’t want to have to think about the mechanics of the clean-up, so instead I offer this to you as our metaphor of the day. If the GOP does indeed take back the House and the Dems hold onto the Senate, this is the pace at which legislation will move through Congress for the next two years. As for the midterms themselves, I can give you an automotive metaphor of the day for that too. Here you go. Guess which car the Democrats are.

Oh, by the way: I’ve seen a bunch of people on Twitter snark that this mother of all traffic jams and the carbon emissions it’s producing puts a real damper on Tom Friedman’s creepy admiration of Chinese environmental policy. But you don’t know the half of it. Via former Hot Airite Bryan Preston, have a look at this. Exit question: How long before you’d simply abandon your car and start to walk home? I think I’d last 12 hours. Maybe.


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Comments

Why can’t congress get stuck like this

blatantblue on August 24, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Paul Krugman’s favorite Chinese selling point.

Inanemergencydial on August 24, 2010 at 6:47 PM

Can you get take out to your vehicle?

Mr. Joe on August 24, 2010 at 6:47 PM

What?! President Obama is in China?

CyberCipher on August 24, 2010 at 6:48 PM

When is Thomas Friedman going to tell us how great this is?

Mark1971 on August 24, 2010 at 6:48 PM

drivers complained about price-gouging by villagers who were their only source of food and water.

I’m sure the folks that are wealthy enough to own cars in China don’t complain all that much when the government turns water off to area farming villages to make sure that Beijing will have enough water to wow people during the Olympics.

I’m also sure they don’t put up too much of a fuss when entire villages are destroyed in order to put up dams or whatever the latest Chinese building project is.

But, the poor villagers raise prices on a limited resource and suddenly people are full of complaints.

JadeNYU on August 24, 2010 at 6:48 PM

When is Thomas Friedman going to tell us how great this is?

Did I mix up my democrat stenographer journolisters?

Inanemergencydial on August 24, 2010 at 6:49 PM

Off lamps?

We don’t need no stinking off lamps!

profitsbeard on August 24, 2010 at 6:51 PM

The Chinese have to be best at everything! Screw you LA, we can do it better!

Mr. Joe on August 24, 2010 at 6:51 PM

China invades a Central Asian country next year. /s

Oil Can on August 24, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Just one day. If only we could be like them for just one day.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 24, 2010 at 6:52 PM

An ice truck could probably do some pretty good business with this traffic jam.

Mr. Joe on August 24, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Exit question: How long before you’d simply abandon your car and start to walk home?

But AP..If you had that totally fly blogger-mobile-Fred Flintstone-eco-wagon you never know how frisky frisk the gals get out there on the highway after a few hours…. Kinda like gettin stuck in the elevator with a stranger..?

if the bloggermobile’s rockin, don’t come knockin…?
18hrs perhaps?

ted c on August 24, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Allah can drive???

FloridaBill on August 24, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Off lamps?

We don’t need no stinking off lamps!

profitsbeard on August 24, 2010 at 6:51 PM

lacist!!!
;-)

macncheez on August 24, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Coming soon to a socialist utopia near you!

Blacklake on August 24, 2010 at 6:54 PM

China invades a Central Asian country next year. /s

Oil Can on August 24, 2010 at 6:52 PM

heh. this little fiasco really gives a great impression on how they’d do with traversing the Himalayas.

ted c on August 24, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Libs to use this traffic jam as further evidence to support the building of mass transit trains and “coerce people out of their cars”…. they need them highways to drive to the golf courses, so we proles better get outta the way.

ted c on August 24, 2010 at 6:57 PM

PS You never out run the Zombies in traffic jam.

Oil Can on August 24, 2010 at 6:58 PM

China is facing inflation. It will cost trillions to get them roads, housing and structure to catch up. Sell them caterpillars.

seven on August 24, 2010 at 6:59 PM

Oh the horror! Imagine all those evil “carbon emissions”. Does China have “Cap and Trade”? Can they buy Al Gore carbon credits? Oh the humanity!

DeathB4Tyranny on August 24, 2010 at 7:01 PM

As for the midterms themselves, I can give you an automotive metaphor of the day for that too. Here you go. Guess which car the Democrats are.

Yikes that is just 10 miles from where I live.
Obama car stuck in drive.

William Amos on August 24, 2010 at 7:03 PM

Exit question: How long before you’d simply abandon your car and start to walk home? I think I’d last 12 hours. Maybe.

This is so hard to wrap my head around.

I’d be way off the rails long before 12 hours.

tru2tx on August 24, 2010 at 7:04 PM

If only they were more like….Oh, never mind.

ThePrez on August 24, 2010 at 7:04 PM

are those “green vehicles”? Are there recharge stations every 40 miles out there?/

ted c on August 24, 2010 at 7:05 PM

After the DOTUS is finished with America we’ll be lucky if we can even drive cars (except the O-Volt)!!!


Conversation in 2015….

….Kids I can remember when we were actually allowed to drive our own cars when we wanted (before GPS Controlled lockdowns were installed)….and we even got stuck in traffic jams (Bushs’ fault). Some people called it something like “Individual freedom” or such.

PappyD61 on August 24, 2010 at 7:08 PM

Local villagers were doing brisk business selling instant noodles, boxed lunches and snacks, weaving between the parked trucks on bicycles.

What ??
No hookrz ?
No wonder those drivers are complaining…

macncheez on August 24, 2010 at 7:09 PM

The company would only have to pay for one driver for 10 coal trucks.

PrezHussein on August 24, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Stossel has a solution.

Speakup on August 24, 2010 at 7:15 PM

This does not even seem possible.

Terrye on August 24, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Does everyone in China drive an 18-wheeler with a green tarp cover?

Weight of Glory on August 24, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Inscrutable. If this happened in the US there would ‘Mad Max films at 10’.

GnuBreed on August 24, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Hilarious! Come to Texas, Mao, you’ll find the grassy area between the service road and the highway rundown with tire treads. THAT is for a five minute delay. Nine days? You’ll find the road boxed up and sent to Austin COD.

Limerick on August 24, 2010 at 7:19 PM

I can give you an automotive metaphor of the day for that too. Here you go. Guess which car the Democrats are.

Hmm…

He crashed when he drove off the left side of the roadway

Guess that answers the question.

agmartin on August 24, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Dude. Seriously? I get amped up at long red lights! When I drive down to Florida from Tennessee a few times a year, I get mad at the wife because we have to stop for her to pee every hour.

Of course, I do my part to limit my carbon footprint. I live about six blocks from where I teach. I drive my Porsche to work every day–as slow as I can, baby. Sometimes I think about riding my bike–but why would I?

robblefarian on August 24, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Nine days,one could build and open up a motel
and restaurant!!!!!!!!

canopfor on August 24, 2010 at 7:21 PM

How is that even possible? Don’t they have some sort of police that can move traffic along?

I would go crazy – stark raving mad

gophergirl on August 24, 2010 at 7:23 PM

OOPS that other link was good but this is the one I meant to post.

Do We Really Need Traffic Lights?

Speakup on August 24, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Hilarious! Come to Texas, Mao, you’ll find the grassy area between the service road and the highway rundown with tire treads.
Limerick on August 24, 2010 at 7:19 PM

No kidding! When I first moved to Texas, I sat in a traffic jam and watched truck after truck turn up the ON ram to get of the beltway! One side of the on ramp was filled with people trying to get on and the other side was filled with people getting off the interstate. It was awesome to see, and at that point I realized I was making the best decision of my life to move here.

Weight of Glory on August 24, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Heres another traffic jam,between Kuwait and fleeing
back to Iraq with your booty!!
=======================================

Highway of Death 1991 Iraqi Army Retreat from Kuwait

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhmXleZXAr0

canopfor on August 24, 2010 at 7:26 PM

Our traffic jam,would be 5 minutes!

canopfor on August 24, 2010 at 7:27 PM

robblefarian on August 24, 2010 at 7:20 PM

If yer not dragging a burning car tire behind you..yer just not trying.

BigWyo on August 24, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Does everyone in China drive an 18-wheeler with a green tarp cover?

Weight of Glory on August 24, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Weight of Glory: The Green Party?!:)

canopfor on August 24, 2010 at 7:29 PM

If yer not dragging a burning car tire behind you..yer just not trying.

Does peeling out on occasion count?

robblefarian on August 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Exit question: How long before you’d simply abandon your car and start to walk home? I think I’d last 12 hours. Maybe.
============

Good point AP,I might last 1 or 2 days,then,screw-it!!

canopfor on August 24, 2010 at 7:32 PM

How is that even possible? Don’t they have some sort of police that can move traffic along?

gophergirl on August 24, 2010 at 7:23 PM

In Shanghai we do. Also tow trucks pre-positioned on highways to expedite removal of stalled vehicles and wrecks.

DarkCurrent on August 24, 2010 at 7:35 PM

canopfor on August 24, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Heh.

Weight of Glory on August 24, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Complaint: Whoever decided to post the video link to Katie Couric should self-flagellate for half an hour.

What a waste of videotape.

turfmann on August 24, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Remember “Falling Down” with Michael Douglas? Reminds me of that.

vcferlita on August 24, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Complaint: Whoever decided to post the video link to Katie Couric should self-flagellate for half an hour.
turfmann on August 24, 2010 at 7:41 PM

.
Self-flagellating to Katie Couric?
.
.
Dude! Somethings are just wrong.
.
I think I need a shower.

LincolntheHun on August 24, 2010 at 7:45 PM

This is what happens when you pay truck drivers by the hour and not by the kilometer.

meci on August 24, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Here’s a little reminder from our Dear Leader on the greatness of China’s infrastructure…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-IvjXnkHwA

CP on August 24, 2010 at 7:57 PM

Americans wouldn’t sit in a traffic jam like that for so long, we’re not that conditioned to not question authority. Yet.

lizzie beth on August 24, 2010 at 7:59 PM

When I first moved to Texas, I sat in a traffic jam and watched truck after truck turn up the ON ram to get of the beltway! One side of the on ramp was filled with people trying to get on and the other side was filled with people getting off the interstate. It was awesome to see, and at that point I realized I was making the best decision of my life to move here.

Weight of Glory on August 24, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Heh. I saw something similar in San Antonio where this huge truck just exited 280N near Bitters Rd and hopped on the frontage road through the ditch. I was like, “Yeah..f*ckin’ awesome!”

ted c on August 24, 2010 at 8:01 PM

I wonder if it’s wise to abandon your car in China and just walk away? It might fall into the same category as abandoning your car in the South Bronx.

jeanie on August 24, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Does everyone in China drive an 18-wheeler with a green tarp cover?

Answer:

This is what happens when you pay truck drivers by the hour and not by the kilometer.

I suspect the car drivers exited the nearest side road, while truck drivers might have not had that option. (Could be wrong, though… I’m not familiar with that part of China.)

calbear on August 24, 2010 at 8:03 PM

ted c on August 24, 2010 at 8:01 PM

No doubt.

Weight of Glory on August 24, 2010 at 8:03 PM

Here’s a little reminder from our Dear Leader on the greatness of China’s infrastructure…

CP on August 24, 2010 at 7:57 PM

It is a fact that the US has better infrastructure than China, but while US infrastructure is decaying rapidly, China’s is improving.

DarkCurrent on August 24, 2010 at 8:06 PM

That’s going to give LA residents a feeling of inferiority… maybe we should invite Obama back for a marathon fundraiser.

malclave on August 24, 2010 at 8:11 PM

So I wonder if President Obama will be giving any more speeches on the wonders of the Chinese urban progress.

jjrakman on August 24, 2010 at 8:20 PM

I guess Obama is going to send Tom Friedman over there to take notes.

Lance Murdock on August 24, 2010 at 8:20 PM

Maybe China isn’t QUITE ready for world domination.

MaiDee on August 24, 2010 at 8:22 PM

Big deal! We’ve been stuck in Obama’s crap jam for 18 months and counting.

GrannyDee on August 24, 2010 at 8:40 PM

In Communist China, Traffic gets stuck in you.

Guardian on August 24, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Nine days! This is clearly a country where there is no people power, only the power elite and the rest worker bees.

Chessplayer on August 24, 2010 at 9:12 PM

Heh. This guy says he doesn’t want to ask the obvious question but then puts in a Wikipedia link to the subject “Toilet.”

Allah, you smartass.

Ryan Anthony on August 24, 2010 at 9:18 PM

I was thinking can you imagine how the rotting produce must smell?,but then i’m thinking the people probably are’nt smelling much better.

heshtesh on August 24, 2010 at 9:31 PM

I didn’t see any cars in the video, looked like all trucks to me. Makes me wonder if Chinese truckers get paid by the hour.

I’m guessing some covered wagons pulled by teams of horses could make it to/from that area faster.

reaganaut on August 24, 2010 at 11:18 PM

Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) is probably worried that China may tip over. LOL!

TN Mom on August 24, 2010 at 11:36 PM

“Married with Children” had an episode on this, replete with Al Bundy giving a speech on the hood of his car.

Reaps on August 24, 2010 at 11:47 PM

“Uh, yeah, I’m stuck in traffic and going to be late..yeah? uh, hard to say. Probably September.”

Potfry on August 25, 2010 at 12:50 AM

Via former Hot Airite Bryan Preston…

I prefer OG Hot Air.

I’ve been reading since way back when….

juanito on August 25, 2010 at 12:56 AM

“Married with Children” had an episode on this, replete with Al Bundy giving a speech on the hood of his car.

Reaps on August 24, 2010 at 11:47 PM

Yeah, I love that episode (as I did most) of Married with Children.

By the way, did you ever see the Doctor Who (Season 30, I think) episode where the people spent most of their lives in the traffic jam? That one was great. :) :) :)

Theophile on August 25, 2010 at 1:21 AM

Meh, I drove I-95 south to the beach one summer, I think that lasted two-weeks.

At least it seemed like it.

NoDonkey on August 25, 2010 at 3:06 AM

Off lamps?

We don’t need no stinking off lamps!

profitsbeard on August 24, 2010 at 6:51 PM

China, not Japan moron

AsianGirlInTights on August 25, 2010 at 3:53 AM

Though there were no reports of road rage violence, drivers complained about price-gouging by villagers who were their only source of food and water.

Ahhhhh, Capitalism!!!

Ain’t it grand!!

dissent555 on August 25, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Exit question: How long before you’d simply abandon your car and start to walk home? I think I’d last 12 hours. Maybe.

And like good little communist worker drones, they stay with their cars.

crazy_legs on August 25, 2010 at 1:01 PM

The traffic jam started Aug. 14 on a stretch of the highway that is frequently congested, especially after large coalfields were discovered in Inner Mongolia, Zhang said. Traffic volume has increased 40 percent every year.

Didn’t somebody have the brilliant idea of turning around and seeking an alternate route? I have no idea what could cause a 9-day traffic jam (doesn’t the traffic clear up at night?), unless maybe a landslide blocked the road. The drivers and passengers probably had plenty of time for a Chinese fire drill.

The main area of the bottleneck is creeping along at around a third of a mile per day; Chinese authorities hope to finally get things moving by mid-September.

Wonder what would happen there when it snows. Slower than Mao-lasses in January.

As for the midterms themselves, I can give you an automotive metaphor of the day for that too. Here you go. Guess which car the Democrats are.

Obama: Whee–I can fly over the Bridge to Nowhere!

Steve Z on August 25, 2010 at 1:35 PM