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Rush for Qingming Festival hits roads, rails

By Zha Minjie and Hu Min   (Shanghai Daily)

09:02, April 01, 2013

Shanghai Railway Station was packed yesterday with Qingming Festival approaching. (Shanghai Daily)

SHANGHAI roads, expressways and subway lines were crowded over the weekend - and especially yesterday - as residents visited cemeteries for this week's Qingming Festival activities and also turned out to enjoy the springtime weather.

Vehicles were being allowed to pass some toll stations yesterday without paying to help keep traffic smooth, city officials said, but several crashes created some gridlock.

A six-vehicle pile-up yesterday morning on the S5 Expressway affected the Middle Ring Road, traffic officials said, slowing visitors to two major cemeteries in suburban Jiading and Qingpu districts.

A total of 1.34 million people visited the city's cemeteries in suburban areas yesterday to pay homage to departed family members, the city's civil affairs authorities said.

The Fushouyuan Cemetery in Qingpu District and Binhaiguyuan Cemetery in Fengxian District had the largest number of tomb sweepers, 108,000 and 80,300, respectively.

For the weekend, cemetery visitors hit 2.42 million people. Activities are expected to last through next weekend, with the Qingming Festival falling on Thursday and a 3-day holiday lasting through Saturday.

The Wanzhen Road ramp of G2 Expressway was closed over the weekend and will close again on tomb-sweeping day on Thursday due to congestion, officials said.

Nearly 300,000 vehicles used city expressways daily over the weekend, an increase of more than 30 percent compared with normal weekends. Crowds were swelled by visitors to suburban gardens and greenery areas.

"I never expected so many people here," said Zhang Kai, a local office worker, who went to Gucun Park in Baoshan District to enjoy the city's largest cherry blossom sightseeing area. Zhang said he and several friends went for a picnic. Zhang's friends said they barely "squeezed onto" Metro's Line 7, used by many to go to the park.

Nearly 150,000 people visited the park yesterday, the highest daily visitor number since the park opened three years ago.

Extra bullet train services also will be added to nearby cities like Suzhou and Wuxi.

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