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January 18, 2013

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Traffic surge, road work crimp commute

AN increase in traffic ahead of the Spring Festival and ongoing construction projects on downtown roads are making maneuvering Shanghai's streets a dicier task.

"There are 386 such road projects that impede traffic around the city," said a local traffic police official. Such projects may pose challenges on some key roads like Changshou Road and Luoshan Road.

Among the projects are more than 230 that affect major downtown thoroughfares.

Vehicles also have been slowed by bad weather and accidents. City traffic police are receiving 41,000 traffic accident reports a week, a 7 percent increase over last year.

Police reminded local drivers to withdraw vehicles from travel lanes for further investigation and negotiations if involved in small accidents. Those who do not do so will be subject to fines of up to 200 yuan, police said.

The good news is that local highways and elevated roads are expected to be smoother as the vehicle volume is expected to decrease by 30 percent during the Spring Festival, as many of out-of-town drivers return to their hometowns.

The city's 12 Metro lines are expected to handle an average of 5.7 million riders a day, a 9.4 percent increase from last year, during the 40-day travel rush that starts on January 26.

A total of 15.78 million commuters are expected daily on the city's buses, subways and taxis during the travel rush. About 2,000 taxis will be put in reserve to bolster the fleet of 50,000 cabs as needed.


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