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2nd Ring Road Conditions
Roadworks related to the construction of the Northeastern Urban Road Link will result in the stretch from Xiaojie Bridge and Dongzhimen Bridge being closed to traffic from 00:00-05:30 from August 22 until September 8 (main road only), September 9 until September 13 (main and service roads), September 14 until September 18 (main road only), September 19 until September 23 (main and service roads), September 24 until September 29 (main road only) and October 8 until November 9, 2005 (main road only).

Central to Beijing, the 2nd Ring Road (pinyin: Er Huan Lu) lies just a few kilometres away from the city centre and is an extremely convenient, if somewhat congested, ring road. It actually comprises of two parts: the original ring road (southern part of which is no longer part of the current ring road), and the new extended ring road. This article considers the 2nd Ring Road as it currently stands.

History and GeographyEdit

Much of the 2nd Ring Road is built on the site of the former Beijing city walls, as can be referenced by their names. Most are named after gates, a few of which are still (fortunately) standing to this day. These include Xibianmen, Dongbianmen, Deshengmen and Yongdingmen (which is being recreated). Large segments of the former city walls were pulled down just after the People's Republic of China was established.

Although it was claimed that the 2nd Ring Road was built nearly over the old city walls, old maps of Beijing showed no such route, only a moat approximately where the ring road was instead. It was only in the 1980s that the ring road was finally being built.

Traffic lights were removed in the 1990s, and several new overpasses were built in the early 1990s. The 2nd Ring Road became the city's first ring road without traffic lights.

In 2001, the 2nd Ring Road was given a facial remake, which also included a complete re-surfacing. Additionally, "greenification" and the planting of more trees, shrubs and plants, have also been completed.

The Old 2nd Ring RoadEdit

The former "old 2nd Ring Road" was ring-shaped (or rather ellipse-shaped). It went through Xizhimen in the northwest, Dongzhimen in the northeast, Dongbianmen in the southwest and Xibianmen in the southwest. The southern part was on what is now known as the southern stretch of the "Metro Road"; it went through Qianmen, which was at the southern end of Tian'anmen Square.

The New 2nd Ring RoadEdit

Extending the western and eastern legs of the original 2nd Ring Road beyond Dongbianmen and Xibianmen, thus relocating its southeasternmost point to Zuo'anmen, and its southwesternmost point to the complex Caihuying overpass complex, gives the modern 2nd Ring Road. It was also known for a while as the external 2nd Ring Road, though this term is becoming more and more rare. The current 2nd Ring Road has its southern segment running through Zuo'anmen and Caihuying instead of through the road passing through Qianmen.

Gates and the 2nd Ring RoadEdit

The 2nd Ring Road passes through a variety of the old city gates around Beijing before they were demolished in the 1950s. Notable gates include:

Of these, only Deshengmen, Dongbianmen, Yongdingmen and Xibianmen are still standing. (Yongdingmen was recently recreated.)

Gates which form the former Inner 2nd Ring Road ("Metro Road") include:

Of these, no gates apart from Zhengyangmen are still standing today.

Road conditionsEdit

Surface conditionsEdit

When it was first opened, road conditions, at first, were adequate. However, the road, usable during the 1980s, was in horrible shape as the 21st century dawned.

The ring road, which was built to accommodate only low traffic, was totally unprepared. Before the 2001 rebuild, the road in some sections gave an uncomfortable bumpy ride. Parts of the road, in terms of aesthestics, were also poor. In 2001, the entire ring road underwent a massive face-lift. Now, the ring road's surface has been completely remade, and is a more pleasent to drive on.

Centralised locationEdit

Being extremely central, the 2nd Ring Road is also the source of massive transportation bottlenecks, although the current road conditions are better than previously.

Nevertheless, traffic jams are common on the 2nd Ring Road. Being linked at present to no immediate expressways, it is also difficult to leave the road. When the traffic allows, the speed limit is 80 km/h. Speed checks and cameras are very frequent, often in action and are known to sometimes be hidden beneath bridges and electronic displays.

Traffic jamsEdit

Traffic jams on the 2nd Ring Road have become a daily fact of life for Beijingers. Nevertheless, the intensity of the jams varies.

The northern stretch between Andingmen and Xiaojie Bridge is often jammed, as is the part of the road around Deshengmen. The northern parts of the eastern and western 2nd Ring Road can become a temporary parking lot when traffic gets tough. The southern segments of these road sections fare better.

Less frequently jammed and often free-flowing traffic can be found at the southern stretch of the 2nd Ring Road from Caihuying through Zuo'anmen.

Road condition monitorsEdit

Electronic message signs (or displays) are spread throughout the 2nd Ring Road, displaying information on the current traffic flow. At present, it is only given in simplified Chinese characters, but a schematic map is sometimes available.

In the summer of 2004, the western segment of the 2nd Ring Road has "smart" electronic displays which were automatically updated every five minutes. Traffic conditions are continuously monitored. A map appears on the displays, indicating road conditions at various parts of the road.

Initially, such displays appeared at Jishuitan, Xizhimen and Fuxingmen on the Chang'an Avenue. Since early 2005, their use has extended to practically all segments of the 2nd and 3rd Ring Roads. New displays (which are initially not networked) are appearing at Jingtai Bridge, Guangqumen Bridge (inner ring) and Baizhifang (outer ring).

Current locations (situation: May 2005, starting from 0 degrees north, and heading clockwise):

Although the Chinese characters may not make sense to foreign drivers, the characters are colour coded. Green indicates traffic jam-free flow; yellow indicates increased traffic flow and thus reduced speeds; red indicates the dreaded traffic jams.

SignageEdit

In September 2005, improved signs with exit numberings were gradually put into place.

Speed detection camerasEdit

Unless otherwise specified, all cameras are situated in an area with a maximum speed limit of 80 km/h; starting from 0 degrees north, and heading clockwise.

Links to ExpresswaysEdit

At present no expressways begin from the 2nd Ring Road. There are no direct connections to the Jingshen Expressway, Jingjintang Expressway or Jingcheng Expressway. A direct connection opened in December 2005 for the Airport Expressway.

It is possible to get to the Jingshi Expressway by heading south-west at Guang'anmen. The Jingkai Expressway is easily accessible by proceeding south at the complex-and-impressive Caihuying overpass. Jianguomen links with the Jingtong Expressway and the Jingha Expressway, while you can access the Badaling Expressway by heading north at Deshengmen.

Direct expressway links (as of December 2005):

ExitsEdit

ClockwiseEdit

North 2nd Ring RoadEdit

Exit # English/Pinyin Name (Bridge) Chinese Name (Bridge)
ExitR Xinjiekou, Beitaipingzhuang (Jishuitan Bridge) 新街口, 北太平庄 (积水潭桥)
Interchange Badaling Expressway (Jishuitan Bridge) 八达岭高速公路 (积水潭桥)
ExitR Changqiao, Madian (Deshengmen Bridge) 厂桥, 马甸 (德胜门桥)
ExitR 36 Jiugulou Street, Anhua Bridge (Gulou Bridge) 旧鼓楼街, 安华桥 (鼓楼桥)
ExitR 37 Andingmen Inner Street, Andingmen Outer Street (Andingmen Bridge) 安定门内大街, 安定门外大街 (安定门桥)
ExitR 38 Hepingli West Street, Beixinqiao (Yonghegong Bridge) 和平里西街, 北新桥 (雍和宫桥)
ExitR 1 Hepingli East Street, Dongzhimen Inner Street (Xiaojie Bridge) 和平里东街, 东直门内小街 (小街桥)

East 2nd Ring RoadEdit

South 4th Ring RoadEdit

West 2nd Ring RoadEdit

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