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March 2, 2013

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Tomb-sweeping to jam roads, subway

TRAFFIC congestion is forecast for local as well as main roads between downtown and the suburbs before and during the Qingming Festival in April as 8.29 million local residents with 720,000 vehicles are expected to sweep tombs to commemorate their deceased relatives and ancestors, local authorities said yesterday.

The traffic is expected to grow starting March 30, the weekend before the festival, and last through the three-day holiday that ends on April 6, the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said.

Those participating in tomb-sweeping will peak on the festival day that falls on April 4, with 2.9 million people and 260,000 vehicles heading for cemeteries across the city, burdening roads and the subway.

To relieve traffic pressures, 14 cemeteries will run shuttle buses to take tomb-sweepers from selected Metro stations to the cemeteries in suburban Songjiang, Minhang, Jiading, Qingpu and Baoshan districts and the Pudong New Area.

The bus will leave every 20 minutes or when it is full, the bureau said. The stations to be served by buses will be released later.

Crowding may occur on Metro lines 2, 5, 8, 9 and 11 that link the downtown with the suburbs. Highways such as S2, S4, G50 and S5 may also be congested.

There are 44 cemeteries and nine columbaria in Shanghai. Pudong has the most, with nine cemeteries and six columbaria where 2,276 are interred.

Authorities suggest tomb-sweeping families with elders avoid the peak hours from 8:30am to 10:30am as roads may be crowded then.

Tomb-sweeping is a traditional Chinese activity of the Qingming Festival to commemorate deceased relatives and ancestors.

Eating qingtuan, a glutinous green dumpling, is also a tradition during the festival.


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