Drivers fined for slow-drive on scenic bridge

Posted at 05/07/2008 9:31 AM

Reuters

BEIJING - China opened the world's longest cross-sea bridge last week aiming to cut travel time between two major ports, but hundreds of drivers have been fined already for, unexpectedly, driving too slow to enjoy the view.

The 36-km (22.4 miles) structure spans Hangzhou Bay in the booming province of Zhejiang, designed to slash travel time between its port city of Ningbo and the financial hub Shanghai from four hours to two and a half.

But since its opening on May 1, police have fined more than 300 drivers, most for driving too slowly or illegal parking on the emergency lanes while enjoying the ocean view and taking photos, local media reported on Monday.

"I just wanted to drive a bit slowly and enjoy the sea breeze. Is that wrong?" Zhejiang's official news portal (www.zjol.com.cn) quoted an unnamed driver as complaining.

Long lines of cars carrying whole families eager to see the bridge and sea vista have caused serious traffic problems and led to a series of accidents, the news portal said.

Some drivers busted for illegal parking even posed in front of police cameras, hoping to turn police snapshots into souvenirs, it said.

"Traffic jams should be impossible under normal circumstances given the capacity of the bridge," the news portal said.

The $1.7-billion bridge's much publicized "sightseeing platforms" in the middle of the span will not be ready for tourists for another two years, local media have reported.