Tomb visitors to put pressure on local roads

Hu Min
The upcoming winter solstice period is a traditional time for paying respect to ancestors. But an expected upsurge in cemetery-goers will lead to traffic congestion.
Hu Min

Local roads will be crowded between December 14 and 22 when people visit cemeteries for dongzhi, the winter solstice, authorities said on Tuesday.

Winter solstice, like Qingming Festival, is a time for Chinese people to pay respects to their ancestors.

An estimated 2.08 million people will visit the city's 45 cemeteries and nine columbariums during the nine-day period, bringing an extra 292,000 vehicles onto roads, the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said.

The number of estimated tomb sweepers and vehicles poses a rise of 3.7 percent and 12.4 percent respectively from the same period last year, according to the bureau.

More than 20,000 urns are expected to be interred during the period, up a slight 0.4 percent.

Jiading, Qingpu, Baoshan and Fengxian districts and the Pudong New Area are tipped to be the most crowded, and each will receive more than 260,000 tomb sweepers during the period, the bureau said.

Expressways and roads leading to cemeteries in Jiading, Qingpu, Baoshan, Pudong and Fengxian will likely be jammed during the period, the bureau warned.

Traffic congestion is expected at certain sections of the S2, S4, S5, G50, G1503 expressways, as well as the Huaxia Elevated Road, Zhufeng Highway, Hunan Highway, Jiasong Road N., Yueluo Road, Tanglu Road and Xinsiping Highway will see traffic congestion, the bureau said.

Peak days for tomb visiting will be December 14, 15, 21 and 22 and some 1.31 million people are expected at ancestral resting places on these days to pay tribute to their departed family members, an increase of 12.2 percent from the same period last year. They will bring an extra 181,000 vehicles onto the streets, a rise of 16.8 percent, according to the bureau.

A total of 15,908 urns are estimated to be interred during the four-day period.

The busiest time will be between 8:30am and 10:30am on dongzhi, December 22, when 900,000 people will visit cemeteries and put an extra 126,000 vehicles on the road, posing severe pressure to traffic. More than 12,000 urns will be interred on the day.

The Songhe Cemetery in Jiading District, Binhaiguyuan Cemetery in Fengxian District, Baoluomingyuan Cemetery in Baoshan District and Fushouyuan Cemetery in Qingpu District are forecast to receive the largest number of tomb sweepers, the bureau said.

Shuttle buses will carry people between Metro stations and cemeteries to relieve traffic pressure, and cemeteries will host group burials and other commemorative and eco-friendly burial events on non-peak days to ease pressure.

The city's 54 cemeteries and columbariums had laid 1.82 million urns for the year by the end of October, according to the bureau.

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