Valentine meets first workday amid traffic chaos

Updated: 2016-02-14 19:03


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BEIJING - Valentine's Day of 2016 is destined to be special for many Chinese still on icy roads returning to work from their hometowns hundreds of miles away.

Valentine's Day this year coincides with the first day back to work after a 7-day holiday for Spring Festival.

Shao Haijun and his wife were still stuck in slow moving traffic on a highway in Datong City, north China's Shanxi province on Sunday afternoon after he started his 1,000-km-plus journey back to Beijing at 5:30 am on Friday from Dingbian County in the neighboring Shaanxi province.

Highways were closed on Saturday in Shanxi due to heavy snow and reopened at about 11:30 am on Sunday.

Shao, a 35-year-old economic analyst, arrived at the entrance of a toll station at 10 am and waited until the highway reopened.

"We will spend our Valentine's Day in the car listening to music," said Shao, who asked his boss for the day off.

"Compared with big Valentine meals in the past, it was quite special for us this year. Hopefully we will reach Beijing by night."

A cold snap will sweep southeastward across China, bringing strong winds, rain or snow to northern, central and eastern regions from Friday to Sunday and reduce temperatures by 14 degrees Celsius, according to the National Meteorological Center.

Heavy snow and strong gales since Saturday in northeast China's Liaoning province have caused highways and ports closures as well as flight delays, forcing many passengers shift to trains.

The Shenyang Railway Bureau transported a record 900,000 passengers and an estimated 10.3 million train trips were made nationwide on Saturday, according to the China Railway Corporation.

Cao Xu, a recently married civil servant in the northern port city of Tianjin, gave up on the bus and barely managed to buy a train ticket back from her hometown in Shanxi Province on Saturday.

"I will watch a romance film tonight with my husband," she said.