Mon, Jan 05, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Bumper-to-bumper traffic as holiday weekend ends

TUNNEL JAM The traffic in the Hsuehshan tunnel was 2,600 cars per hour on Saturday afternoon, forcing northbound motorists to line up all the way to Ilan

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Traffic was bumper-to-bumper in the Hsuehshan tunnel early yesterday morning as travelers headed home on the last day of the four-day New Year weekend.

The Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau said yesterday that traffic volume in the country’s longest tunnel had reached 2,200 vehicles per hour by 1pm on Saturday, which is comparable to rush hour on a weekday.

By 3pm to 4pm, the traffic volume had topped 2,600 vehicles per hour, forcing northbound vehicles to line up all the way to Ilan.

The congestion did not ease until 2am, the bureau said.

Meanwhile, the bureau’s statistics showed that more than 2 million vehicles had passed through freeway tolls nationwide on Saturday alone, an increase of 29 percent over the annual average for a weekend day.

Toll-free hours between 12am and 7am yesterday helped draw an estimated 200,000 motorists to hit the road early, which was 1.3 times the normal traffic volume on the freeways during those hours on a normal weekend, the bureau said.

The bureau also added toll-free hours yesterday evening from 7pm to 12am to help ease the daytime traffic on the last day of the holiday.

By 6pm yesterday, northbound freeway traffic was heavy but running smoothly, the bureau said.

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