S. China warns of icy road amid post-holiday rush

Updated: 2010-02-18 13:02
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GUANGZHOU - Authorities in south China's Guangdong Province Wednesday warned drivers about ice on an expressway linking the province with the capital, Beijing, as holidaymakers head 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 are covered with thin ice as the temperature drops to minus 4 to zero degrees Celsius, the provincial weather bureau said Wednesday.

It said 65 cities and counties had reported freezing weather, while chills from the north would attack again Wednesday night and bring about further temperature drops Thursday and Friday.

Provincial traffic authorities said thin ice began appearing near the guardrails of the expressway last week; but starting Thursday, ice was seen on parts of the trunk road and emergency lanes.

The expressway is notorious for long traffic jams in times of bad weather and road accidents.

Traffic police have increased patrols from 10 times a day to once every hour. Vehicles and road workers have been dispatched to remove the ice.

The Guangdong Expressway Co. said it has 620 tonnes of snow thawing agent and 280 tonnes of slip-proof agent in store to prevent pile-ups on the potentially risky road.

Traffic authorities said the ice had not affected traffic flow as of Wednesday, but warned of higher risks when the post-holiday travel rush begins Thursday and Friday.

Most Chinese will head to work on Saturday, after a week-long Chinese New Year holiday.

Chengdu, capital of southwest Sichuan Province, embraced the first post-holiday passenger peak Wednesday with more than 70,000 passenger arrivals and departures at the Shuangliu International Airport.

"We had 566 takeoffs and landings Wednesday, compared with 480 a day Sunday and Monday," said airport official Lu Junming.

"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."