There is more 'jam' on the roads than on a bread, goes an ad. It might sound amusing to us but to the hundreds who were caught in a massive traffic jam on a stretch of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, it would have been a cruel joke. Heavy rain on Thursday and the breach of Badshahpur drain later in the day turned Gurgaon roads into rivers leading to a gridlock on the NH-8 towards Jaipur, between Rajiv Chowk and Hero Honda Chowk.
The jam lasted for almost 20 hours, with temporary let-ups in between. People were stranded without food and water for hours, with many abandoning their vehicles in frustration and going home on foot. While the mud-slinging between the government and road authorities is going on thick and fast, let us take a look at five of the worst traffic jams till date:
Beijing, China – What is 100-km long, stretched across 50 lanes and lasted for 12 days? That would be the line of vehicles stranded on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway in August 2010. Construction work along a stretch of the highway and presence of heavy cargo trucks contributed to the massive block, where the vendors made a killing by selling food and water at exorbitant rates.
Brebes, Indonesia – The saddest part of this three-day traffic jam in July 2016, was that 12 people died of dehydration and exhaustion. The queue was around 20-km long and stretched across three lanes of the East Brebes toll road. The hold-up was mainly due to people travelling to their homes to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.
Sao Paulo, Brazil – The largest city is South America is notorious for traffic congestion—180-km long tailbacks are a regular sight! If, in 2009, the record was almost 289km, four years later in November, the holiday crowd rewrote the record book, with a 309-km line. But the worst came a couple of weeks before the FIFA World Cup in 2014, with a 344km tailback, thanks to protests and incomplete construction projects.
Moscow, Russia – Snow, snow everywhere, it was for the Russians stranded on a major highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg in November 2012. The traffic jam caused by a heavy snowstorm, lasted for three days and the tailback stretched to 200km. The government set up tents along the highway to offer food and water, and even psychological counselling, to the drivers.
Houston, Texas, US – In September 2005, with Hurricane Rita fast approaching, the warning bells were sounded in Houston. Soon, over two million people hit the road causing a massive traffic block on Interstate 45. The queue stretched for 160km and the jam lasted for two days. The silver lining, however, was that the evacuation managed to save many lives.