Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Drivers fined for slow-drive

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 ( 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.