Wed, Jan 22, 2020 - Page 1 News List

Highway traffic to increase today as holiday commences

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A police officer in Tainan’s Yongkang District monitors the traffic flow yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Tainan Police Department’s Yongkang Precinct

Highway traffic is expected to pick up today as people start hitting the roads for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday inspected the agencies under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to ensure that everything runs smoothly over the holiday, which begins tomorrow, the day before Lunar New Year’s Eve.

The Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) unveiled its strategies for facilitating traffic flow on the upgraded Suhua Highway, which officially opened on Jan. 6.

It said that it would closely monitor southbound traffic on the highway on Saturday and northbound traffic on Tuesday next week, as the traffic volume is expected to reach a record 19,000 and 22,000 vehicles on the southbound and northbound lanes respectively.

The highway’s traffic control center in Nanao Township (南澳) in Yilan County would use a traffic signal system to ease the congestion along certain sections, including between Chiang Wei-shui Memorial Freeway (Freeway No. 5) and Suao Township (蘇澳), and between Hualien and Chongde (崇德) in Hualien County, it said.

DGH Director-General Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯) said that from today to Friday afternoon most people traveling along the highway would be visiting family.

However, from Sunday to Tuesday next week, most short-distance highway travelers would be visiting temples or going on excursions, whereas long-distance travelers would tend to be on tours or visiting their wives’ families, a Lunar New Year tradition, he said.

From Tuesday to Wednesday next week, most highway travelers would be heading back to work, Chen added.

Sibin Expressway (Highway No. 61), which was designed as an alternative to the Hsinchu-Tainan section of National Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), would have 13 rest areas along the way, Chen said.

Starting today, the speed limit would be raised from 80kph to 90kph, he added.

From today to Wednesday next week, freeway bus operators are giving passengers on 89 bus routes a 15 percent discount, the DGH said, adding that passengers who buy tickets from the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (台灣高鐵) or for freeway buses can take one trip on a local bus free of charge.

People taking the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle service can get a 50 percent discount on tickets if they pay with an EasyCard or other smart cards during the holiday, it said.

The TRA and Taiwan High-Speed Rail forecast that the highest single-day volume would be on Monday, with the number of passengers reaching 905,000 and 322,000 respectively.

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