SAO PAULO Ė Sao Paulo, Brazilís largest metropolis and one of the host cities for this summerís soccer World Cup, suffered a record traffic jam with 344 kilometers (214 miles) of streets where traffic was slowed almost to a standstill, officials said.
The traffic jam at 7:00 p.m. Friday, a typical rush hour in this city, was the biggest ever measured by Sao Pauloís CET traffic authority in its history.
The previous record was set on Nov. 14 last year, when thousands of Sao Paulo locals, in their attempt to leave the city to enjoy a national holiday, were tied up in 309 kilometers (192 miles) of congested traffic.
According to CET technicians, the slowdown on the streets of the largest metropolis in South America this Friday was caused by the torrential rain falling that night and by the vast volume of traffic typically on the road the evening before a weekend.
The situation was also attributed to the bus-driversí strike in the city between Tuesday and Wednesday, which made many individuals choose to drive their cars to work this Friday out of fear of another bus stoppage.
The strike, which ended at midnight Wednesday, had already caused the biggest bottleneck of the year on Tuesday with 261 kilometers (162 miles) of slow-moving traffic.
Another obstacle for motorists this Friday was a protest by close to 1,000 striking public-school teachers, who blocked a large downtown viaduct.
Numerous unions and grassroots groups have taken advantage of the approaching World Cup to make people notice their respective demands by means of protests and strikes in dozens of cities.