Beijing Highway Turns Into Massive ‘Parking Lot’ as Smog Disrupts Traffic

As measures to reduce heavy smog prevented cars from entering Beijing on January 2nd, the G4 Expressway turned into a massive ‘parking lot’ with thousands of cars waiting in front of the city’s tollgate. Aerial photos of the exceptionally long traffic jam has attracted the attention of Weibo netizens.

Chinese newspaper Legal Evening News (@
法制晚报) reported on January 2nd how the G4 Jinggang’ao Expressway near the Beijing Toll Gate turned into a ‘parking lot’ as cars were blocked from entering the city.


Beijing authorities issued an orange alert for smog as the city’s air pollution levels reached hazardous levels. The alert comes within two weeks after a previous red alert for air pollution in the city was lifted. During pollution alerts, car traffic is often limited as one of the various measures to reduce the heavy smog.

On January 2nd, the highway before a Beijing tollgate was completely blocked. Traffic was especially heavy due to many people returning from a small New Year’s holiday. Aerial pictures show just how congested the roads were around 3 in the afternoon.



On Sina Weibo, many netizens were happy not be caught in the exceptionally long traffic jam. “What do you do when you need to use the bathroom?”, some wondered.

“This looks like a really really big parking lot,” one Weibo user said.
“That’s because we live in a really really big country,” someone else responded.

Legal Evening News reports that the roads were opened and started operating normally later on Monday.






– By Manya Koetse
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About the author: Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at, or follow on Twitter.

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