City builds ‘Spaghetti Junction’
Shenyang in Liaoning province is set to have its own version of “Spaghetti Junction” next year and some motorists have expressed concern that they might get lost in the city’s newcomplicated overpass system.
Spaghetti Junction is a nickname given to a complicated intertwined road traffic interchange that resembles a plate of spaghetti. It was coined by Birmingham Mail reporter Roy Smith when he said an aerial photo of a construction site in Birmingham, England, looked “like a plate of spaghetti”.
The junction in Shenyang is to have 26 arteries, with a drawing that circulated online showing that the Wu’ai Overpass has used 24 English letters and two combined letter combinations, to label the different arteries.
“We believe it will improve traffic flow at the intersection of the city’s south gate,” said WangWei of the Shenyang city construction administration bureau.
The overpass, construction of which started late last year and is to be completed next year, was partly opened to traffic in the past month.
Li Guiling, a 36-year-old literature magazine editor, said she has used the overpass to cut her journey time from two hours to 90 minutes.
However, she admitted that she only dares to drive on the overpass with her GPS navigation system.
“Without it, I will definitely get lost. Then, it might be a chance for me to teach my baby girl how to read all these English letters,” she joked.
“When the overpass is completed, my travel time will be cut to 30 minutes, if there are no traffic jams,” she said.
Local authorities said they believe their efforts to provide signs that are easier to read will benefit drivers and enable the overpass to serve its purpose more effectively.
“This is the first overpass in the city that has so many arteries. We will make every effort to ensure traffic runs smoothly and safely,” said a source from Shenyang traffic police, who asked not to be named.
He said they would import more than 70 traffic signs showing both street names and iconic landmarks such as convention centers, parks and the local airport. The arteries will be painted one of five different colors to remind motorists of the direction to the city’s major landmarks.
“We understand drivers’ concerns. The interchange will be opened step by step, so people have time to adapt to this big project. There is nothing to worry about,” he said. Zhang Tongtong contributed to this story.
An illustration shows the complicated overpass that is under construction in Shenyang, Liaoning province.