Wed, Feb 13, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Congested traffic floods freeways

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Bumper-to-bumper traffic packs a freeway yesterday on a day that saw the highest volume of traffic on the nation’s freeways so far this Lunar New Year holiday. The National Freeway Bureau estimated that at least 2.9 million vehicles hit the road yesterday.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The National Freeway Bureau said that the volume of freeway traffic was expected to reach 2.9 million to 3 million vehicles yesterday, which would make it the highest daily volume during the Lunar New Year holiday.

The volume of traffic on the freeways on Monday was 2.8 million vehicles, a 75 percent increase compared with the normal daily average of 1.6 million, the bureau said.

The bureau had previously said yesterday — the third day of the Lunar New Year — would see the most traffic, as many people were likely to visit scenic spots or head to the airport for trips abroad.

Traffic congestion was reported in some sections of the freeways as early as 6am to 7am.

“The traffic was heavier on the southbound side of Freeway No. 5 this morning, from about Nangang System (南港系統) to Shihding (石碇),” said Leu Wen-yuh (呂文玉), director of the bureau’s traffic management department.

The average speed fell as low as 20kph at one point.

Most of the congested sections were near scenic areas, such as between Dasi (大溪) and Lungtan (龍潭) in Taoyuan County, the southbound lanes near the Changhua System (彰化系統), between Wujih (烏日) and Wufeng (霧峰) in Greater Taichung and between the Mingjian (名間), Nantou County, interchange and the Jhushan (竹山), Nantou County, interchange on Freeway No. 3, the bureau said.

Since freeway tolls have been suspended between midnight and 7am for the duration of the holiday period to Sunday, the bureau said the volume of traffic during this period yesterday reached about 450,000 vehicles — three times the annual average.

The high-occupancy vehicle policy will be in place from 9am to 3pm today and tomorrow on the northbound lanes between the Kaohsiung (高雄) interchange and Neili (內壢), Taoyuan County, interchange on Freeway No. 1 and the Jiouru (九如), Pingtung County, interchange and Dashi (大溪) interchange on Freeway No. 3. It will be in effect from 2pm to 8pm on the northbound lanes between Suao (蘇澳) and Toucheng (頭城) interchanges in Yilan County on Freeway No. 5.

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