There were a great many reasons to celebrate being British this past weekend, as Her Majesty the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne. As her royal subjects flocked to Buckingham Palace to watch the Diamond Jubilee Concert, it soon became apparent that one of the lesser-enjoyed British bank holiday traits was all too present: the traffic jam.
Luckily for the gridlocked gangs on London’s roads, the temperatures weren’t quite as high as they have been recently. If you were unfortunate enough to be stuck in traffic over the weekend, spare a thought for those who have sat through even more miserable delays in their cars.
Bedford Road – Clapham, south London
A survey last year by satnav manufacturers TomTom revealed that the Bedford Road experienced an average of 13 hours of slow-moving traffic per day – as much as 91 hours per week!
Another survey of the 50 most car-congested cities in Europe contained sixteen in Britain; with eight of those in the top 20.
Naturally, London takes top spot for Britain, but only bronze on the podium thanks to the efforts of Brussels and Warsaw.
When Hurricane Rita swooped down on the state of Texas in 2005, citizens fled the city in droves; converging on the designated evacuation route of Interstate 45 for the drive from Houston to Austin. Car journeys that should have taken only three hours actually took an average of 28. At the peak of the congested chaos, tailbacks stretched 100 miles and went on for two full days.
Beijing-Zhangjiakou highway in Hebei province, China
This traffic jam made the world record books when the province council’s failure to open new highway lanes as scheduled resulted in a mass slowdown of cars that lasted for well over a month. The queue went for over sixty miles; some of the more opportunistic local citizens were quick to set up stalls selling food and drink for the hot and bothered car passengers.
Huan Tian misses the party It might not have been a road-dwelling vehicle, but this special boat was scheduled to sail down the river Thames as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, as the first junk to sail there since 1851. Unfortunately, due to a ‘traffic jam’ on the Suez Canal, the boat – which departed from Hong Kong on 28 April – failed to make it to Sunday’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant as it couldn’t travel fast enough to make up the lost time.