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September 28, 2012

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Special lanes, restrictions among tools to fight holiday's traffic jams

SHANGHAI traffic administration and traffic police said yesterday that they would take anti-congestion measures, like opening lanes for small passenger-vehicles at toll stations and adding guide signs and maps, to keep holiday traffic as smooth as possible.

Lengthy traffic jams have already been spotted downtown, especially on the elevated roads, days before the arrival of the National Day holiday.

Roadside information boards showed yellow and red at some road sections, signaling serious congestion.

Locals worry traffic jams will get worse, like the gridlock seen in Beijing these days, where congestion is so severe that elevated roads have become virtual parking lots. Vehicle volume at toll stations is expected to surge after a new policy allowing vehicles with seven seats or less to enjoy free tolls during the holiday.

The city is expected to see a 40 percent increase in highway traffic volume during the holidays with the peak day's traffic volume reaching over 1 million, city traffic officials said yesterday.

The vehicle peak is expected to arrive on October 1 and 2, said traffic officials.

To alleviate pressures, the expressway operator said yesterday that it would guide private cars and small passenger vehicles to specific toll lanes, separate from the ones used by trucks and large vehicles.

At some key toll stations like Jiangqiao and Anting, where there will be large vehicle volumes, vehicles will be allowed to pass more quickly as toll cards will be distributed before they enter the station and barriers will not be used to block the way, said the operator. Drivers will have to take the cards but private cars and small passenger vehicles won't have to pay.

"We hope the drivers can follow our lead and steer toward the lanes," said Gu Yaozhong, a staffer at the busy Jiangqiao toll station, where three lanes are set for private cars.

Police helicopters will monitor the roads, a practice used for traffic management during the World Expo in 2010.

In downtown, police suggested drivers take ground roads instead of the elevated and ring roads during peak times.

Some downtown roads and elevated road ramps will be restricted during the holiday from September 30 to October 3 in the afternoon and night rush between 3:30pm and 11:30pm.

Entry onto a section of the Yan'an Elevated Road, a major east-west thoroughfare, will also be restricted during the period, police said.


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