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Fears of traffic jam after closure of Yan’an tunnel prove unfounded
2015-03-17
By Ma Yue

THE anticipated traffic congestion on the first working day after the closure of a section of the Yan’an Road E. Tunnel did not happen yesterday with locals working out alternative routes and police managing the roads.

Traffic from Pudong to Puxi on Yan’an Road E. Tunnel has been closed for repairs since Friday night, but the Puxi-to-Pudong section remains open.

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Renmin Road Tunnel, which is just 600 meters away from the Yan’an Road tunnel, was the preferred choice of many with police saying the number of vehicles rose by over 50 percent during rush hours but did not inconvenience commuters. Drivers from Pudong were told to use other routes including Fuxing and Xinjian road tunnels, as well as the Nanpu Bridge to cross the Huangpu River during the renovations which are expected to last for 10 months.

Statistics provided by the city’s road monitoring center showed 4,038 cars from Pudong used the Renmin Road Tunnel from 6am to 9am yesterday, an increase of 77 percent compared to the same period last Monday. “Traffic on Renmin Road Tunnel was under control in the morning,” said Zhou Jizhong, a traffic police officer who was on duty at the Puxi exit of the tunnel. “In fact, the number of cars was below our expectations ... I suppose a lot of drivers made alternative plans and avoided the Renmin Road Tunnel, which was expected to be the worst-hit by the closure.”

Vehicles on the Xinjian and Fuxing road tunnels also increased by 25 percent and 8 percent, respectively, but no serious traffic logjam was reported.

Wang Jingwen, an office worker who lives on Zhangyang Road in Pudong, said it took her only 15 minutes more than usual to reach her office in Puxi via the Fuxing Road tunnel in the morning.

“There was traffic mainly along Zhangyang Road, which has become a parking lot since the other major thoroughfare, Pudong Avenue, has been partly closed for repairs,” Wang said. “I will give this route another try tomorrow as Monday was the first working day since the tunnel closed. The wet weather may have also worsened the situation,” she said.

Another car owner Zhang Qian said she could feel the obvious increase in the car numbers inside the Fuxing Road tunnel.

“It took me 15 minutes to ride out the Fuxing Road tunnel today while it usually takes me no more than 10 minutes,” Zhang said. “There was some congestion at the tunnel’s Puxi exit, and I got two more red lights before crossing Xizang Road.”

Traffic police in the Pudong New Area said there was congestion at about 8am on roads around Lujiazui area, including Pucheng, Dongchang as well as the Lujiazui Ring Road. “Traffic inside the tunnels moved smoothly. Yet, the roads in Pudong leading to the tunnels were jammed,” said Guo Hengming, an officer with the Pudong New Area traffic police.

Many people turned to public transportation, especially the Metro, to avoid the expected jam.

Metro operator Shanghai Shentong Group said Line 2’s Lujiazui Station saw a 6 percent increase in the number of passengers by 9am yesterday. Dongchang and Shangcheng road stations also reported an increase of 3 to 4 percent in the number of passengers yesterday.

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