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Expressway expansion will slow airport traffic

Air passengers should give themselves more time to get to Hongqiao Airport as the expansion of an expressway that begins this coming weekend will cause traffic problems in the area, the local highway manager said yesterday.

 

The A8, the Shanghai-Zhejiang Expressway, is being widened in preparation for next year's World Expo. Traffic restrictions have been in force since early this year. However, a major downtown section of the elevated road in Minhang District will be shut entirely from this Saturday.

 

"It will be the first time in the city's history that part of a major expressway has been completely closed for construction," said Wang Rong, an official with Shanghai's construction authority, yesterday.

 

"With this in mind, we have come up with the widest range of traffic detour schemes ever put into use in the city, to help out all drivers."

 

Starting on Saturday, the road will be closed to all vehicles between the Xinzhuang and Xinqiao overpasses. Half of the lanes will also be closed on the section between Xinqiao Overpass and Songjiang Overpass.

 

Some ramps connecting traffic to other expressways will also be closed.

 

The authority yesterday said those catching flights from Hongqiao Airport should set out earlier than usual to prepare for increased congestion on the roads.

 

The works will be completely finished by the end of this year.

 

The traffic authority suggested Songjiang residents use Metro Line 9 to reach downtown areas while the road is closed. Metro Line 9 will extend operation hours and 15 buses will be given adjusted routes starting on Saturday.

 

Street-level highways will also be built to support the A8 expressway. The local highway manager will give out 1 million illustrated pamphlets at major toll stations from this weekend to vehicles from neighboring provinces to inform drivers of major changes to routes in Shanghai.

 

(Shanghai Daily May 11, 2009)