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Trunk expressway fully reopened
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The Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway, a north-south trunk road, was fully reopened Monday morning, but travelers were warned not to swarm in case of new gridlocks, the Ministry of Communications said Monday.

The last 6,000 vehicles trapped by snow were relieved by 9:00 a.m. after days of hard work by 1,200 soldiers and armed police, said the ministry.

Live broadcasts on road traffic by the China National Radio reminded drivers to "foster the spirit of cooperation" and make way for electrical repair vehicles and vehicles loaded with power coal and disaster relief materials.

The expressway has been closed and re-opened repeatedly over the past week due to unusual freezing weather in central and southern China.

Many drivers had been stranded in the south-bound section of the road for more than a week. Chen Erqun of Zhengzhou in the central Henan province, said he had been on the congested section of road for more than nine days.

As heavy fog shrouded parts of south China affected by the worst winter weather in 50 years on Monday morning, traffic woes caused by snow and frost may worsen.

Visibility was less than 100 meters in parts of Chongqing Municipality and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hubei, Jiangxi, Hunan and Guizhou, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said.

Meanwhile, a new wave of snow, rain and sleet is likely to hit parts of central and south China on Monday and Tuesday, including Chongqing and the provinces of Hubei, Henan, Yunnan and Guizhou, the CMA warned.

Latest traffic update from the Ministry of Communications said that the entry to the Xiangtan-Leiyang section of Beijing-Zhuhai expressway had been temporarily closed because of the fog. Vehicles were not encouraged to enter the Leiyang-Yizhang section as traffic was moving slowly.

The Ministry said that expressways were running well except the closings of some sections in Anhui, Jiangsu and Jiangxi due to thick fog and icing. For the sake of safety, some icy expressways in Shanghai, Guangdong, Guizhou and Fujian were also partly closed to ease congestion.

It said that traffic on ordinary national highways were easing on the whole, but still nine icy highways in Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Guizhou and Jiangxi provinces were sealed off.

The Ministry of Railways said Sunday that three China High-speed Railway services from Nanchang, capital of eastern Jiangxi Province, to Hangzhou, Shanghai and Changsha had also resumed operation.

Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly migrant workers, who are returning home for family gatherings during the Spring Festival holiday that will start on Wednesday, are still stranded on icy expressways and at train stations.

At 8:00 p.m. Sunday, 92,000 passengers were stranded at the railway station in the southern city of Guangzhou and another 15,000 at the railway station in Shanghai, according to the emergency command center under the State Council, China's cabinet.

The snow since mid-January led to deaths, structural collapses, blackouts, accidents, transport problems and livestock and crop destruction.

(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)


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