Hundreds of thousands of grave sweepers loaded with bags of offerings climbed up steep hills to pay tribute to their ancestors on yesterday's Ching Ming Festival. The treks prompted a concern group to urge the government to build another road which will remain open to traffic to the Tseung Kwan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery. It is the city's biggest cemetery and has an incline that is notoriously tough for people to climb. The concern group weighed the offerings carried by some grave sweepers at the Yau Tong MTR station. They found the bags, usually containing roast pig, fruits and flowers, weighed about 10kg. Tseung Kwan O Cemetery Inspection Group chairwoman Zoe Phang Shuk-yee described the outing as an ordeal for people, especially the elderly, who had to walk up the hillside carrying such a weight. She said about 400,000 people made the pilgrimage to the top of the hill every year and some succumbed to the heat and exertion, and needed to be rescued by ambulance. Although the cemetery management proposed building a path to the cemetery from Tiu Keng Leng MTR station, Ms Phang said it would be of little help. Elderly people need transport to the top of the hill. Even using the path, it would still take people up to 40 minutes to reach the cemetery and there would be even more stairs to climb. The group conducted a survey during last Ching Ming Festival, showing that more than 80 per cent of people wanted to take vehicles to get to the cemetery. Currently, the road passing the cemetery is closed to vehicles as people swarm up to the grave sites. But a new road going from East Kowloon to West Kowloon will provide the opportunity of a new vehicle link. Ms Phang suggested the government build a road from the new Kowloon road to the cemetery, which will remain open to traffic over the festival. 'Apart from providing convenience to the public it will also ease the traffic congestion in the area caused by roads closing over Ching Ming during the festival,' it said. The group was set to present its suggestions to the Legislative Council for further discussion, she said. Among the grave sweepers yesterday were Pang Wai-chun, 63, and his wife, who were exhausted before they started climbing the hill. The couple set off early yesterday from their home in Tin Shui Wai to buy roast pork, the most common traditional festival offering. It was already noon when they got to Yau Tong station, from where they had an hour's walk to reach Mr Pang's burial place. 'It is always the same routine for us every Ching Ming, and the whole day's trip is really exhausting,' said Mr Pang, adding they went to the Diamond Hill Cemetery to pay respects to another family member. 'It would be much easier for us if there were shuttle buses,' he said, holding his offerings of more than 13kg.