Related News

Home » Metro » Public Services

Motorists warned of month-long traffic woes

DRIVERS are feared to face extreme congestions this month cruising local roads due to combined influences of the cold weather, the Spring Festival travel peak as well as changes caused by some major traffic projects, said the city traffic watchdog.

One influence will be caused by ending of toll collection on the Shanghai-Jiading Expressway. The road also named S5 is the oldest highway facility on Chinese mainland. In response to mounting appeals which has lasted for nearly a decade, local government had announced it finally toll free to all vehicles starting January 1.

The road authority feared the big "toll-free" attraction will push up traffic by up to 40 percent during peaks among the recent months.

The prediction is proven by the long lines of sedans, buses and trucks this morning on S5 on the first work day since the toll removal.

The highway authority said traffic started to peak at around 7:40am and soon vehicles were seen lining up for more than one kilometer in front of the entry booths. Traffic pressure did not ease until 9am, bringing an extra 20 percent turnover volume compared to previous morning rush period, authority said.

"The highway was operating close to full capacity on daily basis and congestion was already serious. Drivers are now feared to run into further prolonged wait time to pass this highway because of the sudden traffic hike stimulated by the new toll policy," said Yan Jionghao, director with Shanghai Highway Administration.

As more out-of-town vehicles will be attracted, the ordinary local roads in the nearby region will also be placed under heavier pressure. Traffic between the Outer Ring Road and the Qilianshan Road is estimated to suffer the heaviest influence.

And some links diverting traffic from the highway to other parts of the city such as the Fengxiang and Bao'an roads would also come under difficult traffic condition, authority estimate.

The highway authority advised local commuters to take detours if possible to avoid running into traffic jams along S5, which is feared to last for months.

Some traffic-easing measures have also been taken. The automatic bars before the toll gates have been adjusted to move faster. The time for the bars to rise to pass each vehicle is improved from 1.4 to 0.3 seconds now, which translates into a 20 percent rise in traffic turnover speed, said the highway authority.

Although drivers don't need to pay toll fees anymore, they currently still need to stop the toll booths on both ends of the highway to collect and return an empty pass card.

The trouble can be cleaned after next April when the related toll stations are all removed from the highway.

"After the toll booths are relocated, we will also start an expansion project to add two car lanes to the current four-lane driveway in order to boost its traffic capacity," said Li Zheliang, an engineer with the highway administration.

Li said heavy congestion along S5 would last for about one year before the expansion construction was completed.

The road opened to traffic in 1988 with a government investment of 230 million yuan (US$36.4 million).

With many residential complexes springing up in the suburban district and automobile industry operations booming in Jiading's Anting Town, workers and residents have been increasingly complaining of what they call an "ungrounded daily traffic expense."

Minimum toll on other local expressways was also eased from 10 to 5 yuan on January 1.

The construction commission also said the reconstruction of downtown Jiangning Road Bridge across the Suzhou Creek would cause the festival travel peak even more demanding. Closure of the vehicle bridge would continue to produce heavier jams on downtown Changde and Changhua roads, the commission said.

The commission officials said local constructors were speeding up some small construction projects involving road digging and aiming to have such operations all completed before January 10 to reduce impact on local traffic.

The Spring Festival mass migration will peak from January 18 to 22 and from January 30 to February 22, said local traffic authority. Millions of people will rush home to spend the Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, with their families, putting a great pressure on traffic system. The volume of travelers is expected to hike from January 8 and the peak season will last until February 16.

Authorities estimated that 29.33 million people will travel by rail, air and road, and 15.56 million will travel within the city, up 6 percent and 2 percent from last year.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend