Expressways to be extra busy for winter solstice

More than 2 million people are estimated to be visiting cemeteries across the city from December 9 to 24.

Expressways and roads in Shanghai are going to be especially busy from December 9 to 24 when more than 2 million people are estimated to be visiting cemeteries across the city for the winter solstice, authorities said.  

Winter solstice, like the Qingming Festival, is a key time for people to pay their respects to departed family members by visiting tombs.

Also known as dongzhi, winter solstice this year falls on December 22 and 2.38 million people are forecast to visit 44 cemeteries across the city, bringing an extra 290,000 vehicles onto the roads over the 16-day peak period, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

About 25,000 urns are expected to be buried in the city during the period.

The peak days will be December 16 and 17, the weekend before dongzhi as well as the actual day on December 22, with 1.69 million people expected to sweep tombs and an extra 200,000 vehicles onto the roads.

Jiading, Qingpu and Baoshan districts and the Pudong New Area, all of which have a large number of cemeteries, will be the most crowded areas, officials said.

Expressways and trunks leading to cemeteries in Pudong, Jiading, Qingpu, and Baoshan including the S2, S4, G50, S5, G1501, Huaxia Elevated Road, Tanglu Road, Zhufeng Highway, Hunan Highway, Jiasong Road N., Yueluo Road and Xinsiping Highway will see heavy congestion throughout the 16-day period, officials warned. 

Between 8:30am and 10:30am on December 22, 1.02 million people are expected to sweep tombs, with an extra 120,000 vehicles on the roads, according to the bureau.

Seven cemeteries including Songhe Cemetery in Jiading, Baoluomingyuan Cemetery in Baoshan and Fushouyuan Cemetery in Qingpu are likely to see the largest number of tomb sweepers, the bureau said.

Authorities are urging residents to take public transport where possible and said there will be extra shuttle buses taking tomb sweepers between Metro stations and 19 cemeteries.

Officials added that from 8:30am to 10:30am on December 16, 17 and 22, commuters may have to wait for more than 30 minutes in queue to board a shuttle bus at Metro stations such as Dongjing on Line 9, Jiading West on Line 11, Xujing East and Huaxia Road East on Line 2.

Special Reports