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Free expressway far too big an attraction

THE Shanghai-Jiading Expressway, or A12, was seriously congested this morning - as predicted - after tolls for buses and cars were removed.

The Shanghai Highway Administration said traffic was bumper to bumper in this morning's rush hour in both directions of the

Almost everyone employed by the highway management company, including office staff, were sent to help traffic police at the toll stations but the traffic congestion was bad, said officials with the highway administration.

The expressway is now free of charge for buses. And for private cars, the Downtown-Nanxiang section is now toll-free although traveling on the remainder of the expressway costs five yuan. Commercial freight vehicles still have to pay a toll.

The A12 was the first expressway on the Chinese mainland and opened in late 1988.

The government has been urged for years to cancel the tolls with people arguing that the investment in the road should have been returned a long time ago.

The highway administration had predicted heavy congestion on the first working day following the new policy and had improved the collection procedure at the toll stations as well as posting more staff.


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