Jingjintang Expressway

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Jingjintang Expressway (Beijing segment, taken in July 2004)

Jingjintang Expressway (Chinese: 京津塘高速公路; pinyin: Jīngjīntáng Gāosùgōnglù), also known as the Jingtang Expressway, links Beijing via central Tianjin to the Tanggu District in eastern Tianjin. 143 kilometres in length, it crosses the jurisdictions of Beijing and Tianjin municipalities and Hebei province.

Tolls apply as of Dayangfang near the Eastern 5th Ring Road in Beijing until the Tanggu/TEDA exit. The expressway uses a networked toll system across all jurisdictions and is managed by Huabei (North China) Expressways.

This route is now part of G2 Beijing–Shanghai Expressway and Tianjin S40 expressway.

Route[edit]

The Jingjintang Expressway runs through the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as Hebei province.

Jingjintang Expressway (Tianjin segment, taken in July 2004)

Basic Route: Beijing (Fenzhongsi - Shibalidian - Dayangfang - Majuqiao - Caiyu) - Langfang (Hebei) - Tianjin (Yangcun - Central Tianjin - Tianjin Airport - Tanggu District/TEDA).

Status: The entire expressway is complete.

History[edit]

The expressway opened on September 25, 1993, and was the first express to be built to more recent standards.

This expressway has slashed driving time from Beijing to Tianjin to around one hour, and has created a corridor between Beijing and Tianjin.

Accidents[edit]

Areas of the expressway are many times very foggy and that has led to a number of accidents.

Jingjintang Expressway (Tanggu segment, taken in October 2004). Note the nonstandard, Chinese-only traffic signs.

On October 19, 2004, seven vehicles involved in three accidents plunged into each other in early morning fog, killing two and injuring many more on the stretch of expressway from Beijing to Tianjin, at the stretch between Majuqiao and Caiyu.

Portions under Construction or Projection[edit]

With a history of over ten years, the expressway is beginning to feel the crunch of massive traffic, especially the incessant onslaught of heavy lorries. As a result, at least two other expressways linking Beijing to Tianjin are planned.

A variation of the proposed routes leaves Beijing heading toward Pinggu District, and links with the Jinji Expressway.

Road Conditions[edit]

Speed Limit[edit]

Uniform maximum speed limit of 110 km/h (sparsely signposted at times) outside of Beijing; Beijing section now only 90 km/h. However, the Beijing section from Fenzhongsi through Shibalidian has a mixed speed limit of 70 km/h or 80 km/h (only when leaving Beijing).

Tolls[edit]

Tolls apply for the stretch east of Dayangfang until Tanggu.

Lanes[edit]

4 lanes (2 up, 2 down), with emergency belt. Exception: Beginnings in Beijing (Fenzhongsi - Shibalidian) has 6 lanes (3 up, 3 down).

Surface Conditions[edit]

Drivable; a few portions need more maintenance. Portion from central Tianjin to Tanggu seems to be worn down at occasional times.

Traffic[edit]

Heavy traffic during weekends and mornings.

Major Exits[edit]

Fenzhongsi, Dayangfang, Majuqiao, Caiyu, Langfang, Yangcun, Yixingbu, Central Tianjin, Tianjin Airport, Tanggu

Service Areas[edit]

Majuqiao, Xuguantun, Dongli.

Connections[edit]

Ring Roads of Beijing: Connects with the SW 3rd Ring Road at Fenzhongsi, the SW 4th Ring Road at Shibalidian, the SW 5th Ring Road at Dayangfang and the SW 6th Ring Road at Majuqiao.
Jinghu Expressway: Connects with the Jinghu Expressway at Yixingbu.
Jinji Expressway: Connects with the newly opened Jinji Expressway at Central Tianjin exit (Jinzhong Road).
Tianjin Outer Ring Road: Connects at Yixingbu.

From the "Golden Expressway" to the "Road of Death"[edit]

Upon its completion, the PRC authorities and state media spared the least of efforts in trumpeting the creation of the Jingjintang Expressway, promoting it to the bitter end, and creating an illusion that the expressway was it in the PRC's expressway world. As a result of this widespread promotion, the expressway was known as the "golden expressway".

In November 2004, however, things looked very different. Incessant traffic jams, breakdowns, and chaos on the expressway earned it a more popular nickname—the "road of death".

The very problem lies within the expressway itself—massive traffic. The expressway was designed for a traffic audience of 50,000 vehicles a day—and apparently, not a vehicle more, as the current average of 59,000 vehicles a day is stretching the expressway to its limits. Meanwhile, during periods of high use, 130,000 vehicles are reported to be using the expressway -- per day.

Compounding the problem is a very narrow (2.4 m in width) hard shoulder, and the lack of emergency bays. Compound that with fog in the southeastern Beijing section, and no lights at night outside of the 4th Ring Road (Beijing), and one understands why the label "road of death" sticks so well to the expressway today.

Problems with the Expressway[edit]

China was a different country back in 1993, when the expressway first opened. For a start, there were fewer drivers, and traffic—especially expressway traffic—was less of a problem. Therefore, when the expressway opened in September 1993, it could cope rather well with just two lanes in one direction—for over a hundred kilometres.

Things changed in the late 1990s. Private citizens could apply for driver's licences with greater ease, and traffic as a whole increased on PRC roads. The situation on the expressway in 2004, therefore, is different from that of 1993.

A 2004 traffic jam—or traffic disturbance—that upset just one lane (not to mention more than one lane), would upset the entire expressway. Traffic would begin to pile up for kilometres and hours on end. The relative lack of exits (only ten for the entire stretch) could further compound the problem.

As it forms a vital corridor for traffic from Tianjin and Tanggu, the expressway is often full of lorries. Two lorries overtaking each other would shrink average speed limits for the car following behind considerably—from the legal 110 km/h down to approximately 80 km/h or sometimes even 60 km/h.

The expressway today, therefore, is not just a corridor for traffic, but also potentially one for traffic problems.

List of Exits[edit]

Symbols: ↗ = exit (→ = only on way out of Beijing), ✕ = closed exit, ⇆ = main interchange; ¥ = central toll gate; S = service area

Beijing Section[edit]

Listed are exits heading southeast as of Beijing (3rd Ring Road)

Hebei Section[edit]

Listed are exits heading southeast as of the jurisdictional boundary with Beijing

Tianjin Section[edit]

Listed are exits heading southeast as of the jurisdictional boundary with Hebei/Tianjin (Wuqing District)