Heavy traffic seen on 1st day of Qingming

Tomb sweepers and tourists kept the city's expressways super busy from early morning onwards yesterday.

Tomb sweepers and tourists kept the city’s expressways super busy from early morning onwards yesterday.

By 3pm, about 915,300 cars were recorded as having used the expressways, up 8.7 percent over the first day of the Qingming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day, last year, which fell on April 2, according to the Shanghai Road Administration Bureau.

By 9am yesterday traffic from the urban area to suburban cemeteries and destinations out of town was building up to a peak.

In Pudong, heavy congestion was reported on Wuzhou Avenue and the part of the G1501 Expressway connecting the Yangtze River Tunnel and Bridge in the direction of Chongming Island and Jiangsu Province.

By 2pm, the congestion started to ease. Pudong traffic police said the G1501 Expressway was more congested than in previous years as a result of more motorists seeking to avoid Wuzhou Avenue when driving toward the Yangtze River Tunnel and Bridge.

Expressways in the western part of the city, including G2, G15, G50, G60, S32 and S5, all came under severe pressure during the peak hours.

After 10am, the direction of the traffic started to reverse as mourners began to return home. In parts of the city‚ the elevated roads also became congested, notably the Middle Ring Road, Yan’an and Humin elevated roads.

Chen Jun, a Shanghai local, said he took a bus from Pingxingguan Road in downtown to a cemetery in southwestern Songjiang District with his family at about 7am.

“We were supposed to get there within 50 minutes, but it took us three hours,” he said.

Traffic officials estimate that the entire traffic on the city’s expressways during the three-day holiday will be 4.3 million cars, up 5 percent from last year.

Shanghai traffic police warned that the Yangtze River and Bridge and Chongqi Bridge could face unprecedented pressure this year because trucks crossing the Yangtze in this part of China will have to use those bridges as three main bridges in neighboring Jiangsu Province — on the G36, G2 and G15 Expressways — were closed to trucks from 6am to 8pm over the holiday.

Police estimated that the daily number of trucks using the bridges could be about 5,200, up to five times higher than the same period last year.

Pudong traffic police told Shanghai Daily that they didn’t spot a surge of truck traffic yesterday, but it could happen in the next two days.

In cooperation with insurance companies, traffic police have set up service points at several toll stations on major expressways that operate from 8am to 5pm over the holiday period to deal with traffic accidents. The service points on the G40 Gaodong toll gates linking the Yangtze River Tunnel and Bridge will operate nonstop during the holiday.

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