Badaling Expressway Road Conditions
No traffic hinderances on this road.
The Badaling Expressway (八达岭高速公路, Hanyu Pinyin: Bādálíng Gāosù Gōnglù) is an expressway in China which links Beijing to the Badaling stretch of the Great Wall of China. It continues toward Yanqing and leaves Beijing, becoming the Jingzhang Expressway.
The Badaling Expressway runs within the confines of the municipality of Beijing. It passes through many new residential and industrial zones. Huilongguan is one such location. The Badaling expressway also passes through Changping District before heading for hillier terrain. It splits into two at Juyongguan and reconnects after Badaling. After Badaling, the expressway links with a sub-expressway route to Yanqing county before leaving Beijing municipality altogether at Kangzhuang.
Note: Due to the difficult-to-tackle terrain, the expressway literally splits into two a few kilometres into the hilly terrain. This means that the route out of Beijing is different than the route into Beijing. All exits to the Great Wall are on the stretch of expressway going out of Beijing. Some exits are merely exits with no entrances.
First stage: Madian - ChangpingEdit
As the expressway only reached Changping, a temporary alias was born -- the Jingchang Expressway (京昌高速公路). This moniker is less used these days.
Second stage: Changping - BadalingEdit
The expressway then tackled the hilly area outside of Changping. This somewhat challenging, but splendid (in terms of scenery) stretch of the expressway opened on November 8, 1998. The total mileage of the expressway now stood at 61.9 kilometres.
This stretch of the Badaling Expressway actually splits into two right after Juyongguan Toll Gate. Exits to the Great Wall are only present in the section heading out of Beijing.
Third stage: Badaling - KangzhuangEdit
A final extension to the expressway, 8.11 km in length, linked it with the Jingzhang Expressway (Badaling - Kangzhuang). This extension was completed and opened to traffic early in September 2001. The total mileage now stood at just under 70 km (69.98 km).
On November 16, 2002, the entire stretch of the Jingda Expressway, which incorporates the Jingzhang Expressway, opened to traffic. The newly-opened expressway links into the Badaling Expressway at the boundary between Beijing and Hebei.
Kilometre sections 49-50 heading out of Beijing are areas where fog may occur. The same applies for the stretch between Shahe and Xisanqi, especially at night. The Valley of Death (see relevant part of this article) is a (potential) speed trap and a black spot for traffic accidents. Other speed traps are around the area leaving urban and part of suburban Beijing.
Before Qinghe Toll Gate, maximum 80 km/h; after Qinghe Toll Gate, maximum 100 km/h. (60 km/h only in mountainous area between Nankou and Badaling; heavily enforced heading into Beijing in "Valley of Death".)
In cases of rain, snow or fog, a maximum speed limit of 60 km/h for the stretch southeast of Nankou applies (40 km/h northwest of Nankou). Most bridges southeast of Nankou have a maximum speed limit of 80 km/h but this is neglected by all and enforced by virtually none.
Speed checks are concentrated in the Madian - Bei'anhe area and get less after that, but are notoriously plenty in the "Valley of Death" part of the expressway from Badaling to Nankou, heading into Beijing.
CNY 0.5/km as of 5th Ring Road intersection for sections south of the toll gate. (The 5th Ring Road intersection is free only for vehicles heading north toward Badaling.)
Entire stretch north of the 5th Ring Road to Kangzhuang costs CNY 35 (price for small passenger cars). Networked with 6th Ring Road toll system, but not with Jingzhang Expressway system.
Good; portions further north are better.
Warning: Horrendous traffic jams can clog up to the extent that the stretch from Madian to Jianxiang can become a three-lane car park during rush hour. For the stretch after that until the Qinghe Toll Gate, the right part of the expressway can get clogged up with vehicles leaving the expressway. During both rush hour periods, the Huilongguan exit is likely to form a huge traffic line. Traffic coming into central Beijing will likely experience very slow traffic 500 m - 2 km prior to (north of) Shangqing Bridge; take the 6th Ring Road and the Jingcheng Expressway instead.
Jingzhang Expressway: Becomes the Jingzhang Expressway west of the City Boundary toll gate.
The Expressway and the Great WallEdit
The expressway, of course, passes by the Great Wall of China in the Badaling region. As a result, it offers three exits which are linked immediately (or in the vicinity of) with the Great Wall. (Note: All of these exits are in the split section of the expressway heading out of Beijing. For those heading in to Beijing, leave at Exit No. 20 instead.)
Juyongguan Exit - Exit No. 15: The Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass is linked immediately with the expressway. Juyongguan Pass is a fort which is nearest Beijing the most. Needless to say, a stretch of Great Wall is also next to the Pass.
Shuiguan Exit - Exit No. 16: The Great Wall at Shuiguan is little-known, but interesting, and also very challenging. It is extremely steep, but at the top, offers you a spectacular view and even allows you to see (though not visit up-close) a stretch of the Wall which has yet to be repaired (a.k.a. "the wild Great Wall"). Note: There is no entry back into the expressway; you must proceed by minor routes back to Juyongguan.
Badaling Exit - Exit No. 18: By far the most famous and the most frequented of all three exits is the one at Badaling. After passing a large car park, you head for the Badaling Great Wall, which has been frequented by millions of visitors.
The "Valley of Death"Edit
Kilometre sections 50-55 of the expressway into Beijing has what the road sign labels as "serial downgrades". It actually means that there are continuous curves heading downward, spiralling downward. If one speeds in this section, fatal accidents can occur -- and many have, racking up a horrendous death toll. Thus the nickname "valley of death". (Actually, judging from the scenery alone, the nickname just doesn't do it justice.) It begins right after the first tunnel after the expressway splits at Badaling, entering Beijing.
The Measures Taken in ResponseEdit
After seeing more than quite enough vehicles and people plunge to a premature death in this part of the expressway, the Beijing police authorities reacted vigourously and enacted a low speed limit of 60 km/h for light-duty vehicles and 40 km/h for lorries. Lorries with questionable brakes get forced into a service area; ditto for overloaded lorries. Massive, repetitive and nearly ubiquitous signposts were put in place, urging people to slow down. Meanwhile, numerous cameras are on permanent lookout for people who drive too quickly. For speeders, a valley-wide loudspeaker system broadcasts their vehicle licence number, and an electronic display records the licence plate of the speeding vehicle. Those who are caught face punishment (read: stiff punishment); according to the Road Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China, if one drives in excess of 50% of the regulated limit, one loses one's driving licence for good (plus a 2-year waiting period for reapplications) and gets a whopping CNY 2000 fine.
Five cameras and a GPRS wireless network for violator data transfer make this system apparently undefeatable. There is little tolerance outside of the signposted speed limits.
In rare cases, police have reportedly stopped speeders near the disused Juyongguan toll gate.
Safety and ResultsEdit
Car safety is also a big feature on this part of the expressway. There are plenty of Emergency Brake-Fail areas, where cars in distress can brake by rolling into an upward hill full of pebbles, which would slow the car down. There is what is called a "Vehicle Self-Check Line", or actually an emergency bay, where questionable cars can be parked and the car itself be checked for any technical glitches.
The results are paying off. Over two hundred days after the implementation of the new system, a fatal accident has yet to occur. Meanwhile, drivers are driving more carefully, and speeders are given the punishment they deserve. The strong anti-speeding deterrent is also working well.
List of exitsEdit
Madian → KangzhuangEdit
|Exit #||English/Pinyin Name (Bridge)||Chinese Name (Bridge)|
| North 3rd Ring Road (Madian Bridge)|
(Interchange with the Northern 3rd Ring Road)
| 北三环 (望和桥)|
|2|| North 4th Ring Road (Jianxiang Bridge)|
(Interchange with the Northern 4th Ring Road)
| 北四环 (健翔桥)|
|Anxiang North Road||安翔北街|
|Qinghe Toll Gate||清河收费站|
|4|| Yuanmingyuan, Jingcheng Expressway (Shangqing Bridge)|
(Interchange with the Northern 5th Ring Road)
| 圆明园, 京承高速 (来广营桥)|
(Interchange with the Northern 6th Ring Road)
|14||Chenzhuang, Nankou||陈庄, 南口|
|Juyongguan Toll Gate (abandoned)||居庸关收费站 (已经停止使用)|
|16||The Great Wall at Shuiguan||水关长城|
|18||The Great Wall at Badaling||八达岭长城|
(Interchange with the Badaling Road Link)
|Start of Jingzhang Expressway (Beijing section)||京张高速公路北京段起点|
|Service Area & Gas Station||服务区, 加油站|
|Kangzhuang Toll Gate||康庄收费站|
|Border with Hebei Province||河北省界|
|Jingzhang Expressway (Hebei section)||京张高速公路河北段|