Friday, February 19, 2010

Travel chaos as Spring Festival ends

As people return from the Spring Festival break there have been dozens of accidents across China. However the Ministry of Public Security has said road traffic had been smooth with no serious congestion or major accidents. The ministry has not given the total death toll from road accidents during the week-long holiday that started on February 13. But some authorities were warning of icy and wet conditions that would make travel difficult in some regions.

On Thursday afternoon four people were killed in the south Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region after their motorcycle collided with a bus, Xinhua reported. Authorities in south China's Guangdong Province warned drivers of icy conditions on an expressway linking the province with the capital, Beijing, as holidaymakers headed back to work after the Spring Festival.

Despite the generally mild winter climate in China's south, parts of the Guangdong section of the 2,310-kilometer Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway were covered with thin ice as temperatures dropped to -4°C. The provincial weather bureau said 65 cities and counties had reported freezing weather, while a cold front pushing down from the north could bring further temperature drops Thursday and Friday.

The main routes across Yunnan were also affected by bad weather on Thursday as rain brought slippery conditions for motorists. At least seven accidents occurred along the main route between Kaiyuan and Kunming. Several vehicles slid of the road including two large goods vehicles. In one incident a police vehicle crashed and became wedged in a ditch at the side of the G326 national expressway some 40 km south of Mile. Most accidents were caused by people not leaving adequate braking distance to the vehicle in front and travelling too fast for the road conditions. 

The traffic situation is likely to worsen in the coming hours as more people take to the roads. Most Chinese will head to work on Saturday, after the week-long Chinese New Year holiday. Airports will also become busier as will major coach and railway terminals in major Chinese cities.

An airport official at Chengdu's Shuangliu International Airport, in the south-west Sichuan Province, said post-holiday passenger travel peaked Wednesday with more than 70,000 passenger arrivals and departures. "We had 566 takeoffs and landings Wednesday, compared with 480 a day Sunday and Monday," Lu Junming told Xinhua. "Most of the passengers were sightseers and office workers, and we're expecting another significant rise when students and migrant workers head back from next week."

The Ministry of Railways estimated 210 million passengers will travel during the 40-day holiday period beginning 30th January, a 9.5% rise compared with 2009. Meanwhile the Ministry of Public Security said police across China were still monitoring road traffic closely as the holiday draws to an end.

tvnewswatch, Kunming, Yunnan, China

No comments: