Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
2nd Ring Road (Beijing)
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 Geography
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 Road
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 Road
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 Road
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.
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.
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 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 monitors
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.
The western segment of the 2nd Ring Road has "smart" electronic displays which automatically update every five minutes. Traffic conditions are continuously monitored. A map appears on the displays, indicating road conditions at various parts of the road. Currently, such displays appear at Jishuitan , Xizhimen and Fuxingmen on the Chang'an Avenue.
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.
Links to Expressways
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 is being worked on 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.
List of Exits
[Heading in a clockwise direction as of the Northern 2nd Ring Road]
- Exits present only in a clockwise direction are indicated by the symbol ↩; anticlockwise only, ↪; not yet open, ✕
- Exit sign symbols: ↗ = exit (✕ = unopened)
North 2nd Ring Road
- ↗ Beitaipingzhuang , Xinjiekou (Jishuitan Bridge)
- ↗ Madian -- connects to direct road to Badaling Expressway (Deshengmen Bridge)
- ↗ Anhua Bridge (Gulou Bridge, Zhonglou North Bridge)
- ↗ Jiangzhaikou (Andingmen Bridge)
- ↗ Yonghegong, Beixinqiao (Yonghegong Bridge)
- ↗ Hepingli (Xiaojie Bridge)
- ✕ -- Link to Airport Expressway under construction
East 2nd Ring Road
- ↗ Nongzhan Bridge, Beixinqiao (Dongzhimen Bridge)
- ↗ Changhong Bridge , Kuanjie (Dongsishitiao Bridge)
- ↗ Dongdaqiao (Chaoyangmen Bridge)
- ↗ Dongdan, Guomao Bridge (Jianguomen Bridge)
- ↗ (Dongbianmen Bridge)
- ↗ (Guangqumen Bridge)
- ↗ Temple of Heaven (Guangming Bridge )
South 4th Ring Road
- ↗ (Zuo'anmen Bridge)
- ↗ Chongwenmen (Puhuangyu /Yuting Bridge)
- ↗ (Jingtai Bridge )
- ↗ (Yongdingmen Bridge)
- ↗ (Taoran Bridge)
- ↗ (Kaiyang Bridge)
- ↗ Jingkai Expressway, Lize Bridge (Caihuying Bridge)
West 2nd Ring Road
- ↗ (Baizhifang Bridge)
- ↗ (Guang'anmen Bridge)
- ↗ (Tianningsi Bridge, Xibianmen Bridge)
- ↗ (Fuxingmen Bridge)
- ↗ (Yuetan South Bridge, Yuetan North Bridge)
- ↗ (Fuchengmen Bridge)
- ↗ (Guanyuan Bridge)
- ↗ (Xizhimen Bridge)
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