About 10,000 police and 100,000 PLA troops deployed along the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway failed to get traffic moving on the icy road yesterday, despite a Ministry of Public Security vow to do so by 6pm. Ministry spokesman Wu Heping said in Beijing that progress was hindered by cold weather and an inability to get equipment to problem areas. The expressway was partly reopened in the morning, but was soon blocked again by ice and sleet. People were evacuated from more than 7,000 vehicles while another 6,400 with 20,000 passengers were stuck on the road. Most were blocked at the border of Guangdong and Hunan provinces. Mr Wu said sustained rain and sub-zero temperatures meant roads froze soon after being cleared, which led to repeated opening and closing of highways. Local authorities blamed the situation on a lack of experience and necessary machinery. Most soldiers cleared the icy expressway by hand with shovels. 'Most soldiers don't have experience in cleaning up icy roads, because it's the worst snowstorm we've seen in five decades,' Zheng Zhidong, a military commander from Hunan, told mainland media. Only 150 de-icing vehicles were available at the scene, where ice reached eight to 30cm in depth. A 30km traffic jam formed yesterday along main roads between Guangdong and Hunan as broken-down vehicles blocked the highway. Another 5,000 vehicles were blocked at the border of Hunan and Hubei. Affected passengers have been provided with bottled water, instant noodles and quilts by rescue workers.