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Congestion warning for Qingming

SHANGHAI is facing major traffic congestion with more than 7 million residents expected to hit the roads over the next few weekends for the traditional Qingming Festival - the tomb-sweeping day.

The festival day itself, which falls on April 4, is expected to see an estimated 2.4 million residents visiting tombs in Shanghai suburbs or nearby provinces to pay tribute to deceased relatives and friends, said the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

Heavy traffic is expected on the weekends of March 28 and April 4, when nearly 4.2 million residents and 400,000 cars will be on the move. Peak travel hours will be between 8am and 11:30am, officials said.

A total of 2.37 million local residents hit the roads for the festival last year. A GPS system will be used in main cemeteries and highways during the tomb-sweeping peak period to monitor visitor and vehicle volumes.

Cemeteries will encourage people to give up some dangerous traditions when sweeping, such as letting off firecrackers and burning funerary money. Instead, for example, the Haiwan Qinyuan Cemetery in Fengxian District will give visitors a card on which people can write messages for the dead and place beside the tombs.

The Fushouyuan Cemetery in Qingpu District, the largest cemetery in the city, will hold a exhibition in memory of the revolutionary martyrs and celebrities buried there.

The exhibition will include pictures, relics and written material, and will be open until the beginning of May, the cemetery officials said.


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