The National Freeway Bureau said that an estimated 2.74 million cars hit the nation’s freeways yesterday, almost twice as many vehicles as the 1.5 million average on a normal weekday, while traffic volume during the toll-free period yesterday was 370,000 vehicles, much higher than the 150,000 normally seen on national holidays.
The bureau said earlier in the day that certain sections of the nation’s road network — from Linkou (林口) to Pingjhen (平鎮), Yangmei (楊梅) to Hsinchu (新竹) and Taichung to Changhua on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), as well as the sections from Tucheng (土城) to Longtan (龍潭), and Kuaiguan (快官) to Wufeng (霧峰) on the Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) were jam-packed yesterday before noon.CONGESTION
Traffic congestion worstened yesterday afternoon, with vehicles moving at an average speed of 20kph from Taichung to Changhua on Freeway No. 1, while the average speed from Changhua to Wufeng on Freeway No. 3 was less than 40kph, an official said.
The bureau advised motorists to take the Sun Yat-sen Freeway for trips between Taipei and Taichung, and the No. 3 Freeway for longer journeys between the north and south.
Motorists on shorter trips should avoid freeways altogether and take local roads, the bureau said.
Several measures will be implemented today to maintain smooth back-to-work traffic. Toll-free periods will be between midnight and 7am and from 7pm to midnight, while vehicles will be banned from using the Toucheng interchange between noon and 7pm. Northbound ramps in Puyen (埔鹽) and Pingjhen (平鎮) on Freeway No. 1, and Longtan (龍潭) on Freeway No. 3, will be closed all day today.
Northbound and southbound exits of the Wangtien (王田) interchange on Freeway No. 1 and Mingjian (名間) on Freeway No. 3 will be subject to volume controls.
The bureau said the restrictions at Toucheng may be lifted depending on traffic flow.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan Railway Administration said yesterday that tickets are still available for today for south-bound trains on the eastern and western lines, and Southern Link line trains, as well as for north-bound trains on the eastern and western line. Tickets are also available on South Link line trains for tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.
In related news, two Taiwanese tourists were injured in a car accident on Tuesday in China’s Yunnan Province, Straits Exchange Foundation Deputy Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) said yesterday.
The accident happened when a tour bus carrying 25 Taiwanese tourists collided with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction and hit a tree, Kao said.
Liu Shiang-ling’s (劉湘玲) right arm was injured in the accident and was still in hospital, while another tourist Cheng Li-ling (鄭麗玲) suffered a fractured little finger, Kao said.
Kao said the SEF had contacted its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, on Tuesday night and would offer the tourists any help they need.
After the accident, eight of the group continued on their journey, while the other 17, who were members of a single family, stayed with the injured passengers, Kao said.