Heavy traffic on the national freeways could occur earlier than usual today as homebound travelers are expected to hit the road early for the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins tomorrow.
The National Freeway Bureau estimates that traffic will start to become heavy on the national freeways from about 3pm today.
Between 3pm and 8pm, traffic congestion is most likely to occur on the southbound lanes of National Freeway No. 1 between the Taoyuan airport and Neili (內壢) interchanges.
The bureau said the severest congestion would occur on Tuesday next week, the fourth day of the Lunar New Year holiday, as many families go on a one-day trip to tourist attractions.
Heavy traffic is expected on both southbound and northbound lanes on the nation’s freeways between 8am and 1pm, as well as between 2pm and 10pm.
Freeway traffic is also likely to get heavy on Monday and Wednesday next week.
Leu Wen-yuh (呂文玉), director of the bureau’s traffic management department, said Monday is the third day of the Lunar New Year holiday, which is the day married daughters traditionally travel to their parents’ house.
As some businesses return to work on Thursday, some people may choose to head back north on Wednesday, she said.
The bureau advised travelers to take advantage of the toll-free hours on the freeways to avoid heavy traffic.
Drivers heading to Greater Taichung are advised to take the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), whereas those going further south are advised to take the Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3).
Toll booths on the nations’ freeways are not collecting fees between midnight and 7am from tomorrow until Feb. 17.
Tomorrow, a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) policy will take effect on southbound lanes from 7am to midday between the Neihu (內湖) and Toufen (頭份) interchanges on Freeway No. 1 and between the Muzha (木柵) and Siangshan (香山) interchanges on Freeway No. 3.
The policy requires drivers to carry at least two passengers in their vehicle before taking to the nation’s freeways.
On Wednesday and Thursday next week, the HOV policy will also be introduced on the northbound lanes from 9am to 3pm between the Kaohsiung and Neili interchanges on Freeway No. 1 and between the Jiouru (九如) and Dashi (大溪) interchanges on Freeway No. 3.
HOV hours on Freeway No. 5 will be from 2pm until 8pm on the northbound lanes.
Feeder roads to the northbound lanes between the Puyan (埔鹽) and Pingjheng (平鎮) interchanges on Freeway No. 1 will be closed all day on Wednesday and Thursday next week.