Mon, Sep 19, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Festival brings traffic mayhem

CONGESTION One person was killed and 10 injured in two separate car accidents over the holiday weekend as travelers flooded the nation's highways and railways

STAFF WRITER

The Mid-Autumn Festival brought heavy traffic congestion over the last few days, and two car accidents over the weekend left one person dead and 10 injured.

According to the National Freeway Bureau, traffic volumes averaged 10 percent to 15 percent higher than on normal weekends.

On highways across the country there was a surge in traffic from 10am-12pm on Saturday, with vehicles traveling as slowly as 20-30kph in some areas. On Saturday, traffic jams were most apparent on southbound routes from Taipei, while yesterday saw congestion for northbound travelers.

On the Taipei-Ilan highway, the section between Pinglin (坪林) and Shiding (石碇) was clogged with traffic over the weekend, despite attempts by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to limit the number of cars taking the route. The ministry instituted controls to allow 4,000 vehicles per day through the section, with special permits required for vehicles exceeding that number. The measure caused a public outcry, however, and by yesterday the counters used by traffic controllers were seen tossed to the side at toll booths.

Yesterday evening, regulations were changed so that 800 cars could be let through every hour.

The ministry plans to further review the procedures used on that section of the highway tomorrow.

Traffic congestion was particularly heavy between 6pm and 10pm yesterday with congestion seen in the Hsinchu and Taoyuan areas along the Sun Yat-sen Freeway. On the Formosa Freeway congestion was particularly heavy from Chulin to Hsinchu, with traffic moving as slowly as 40kph.

Two traffic accidents marred the holiday weekend. On the Sun Yat-sen Freeway a coach crashed into a van, killing one person and injuring five. In Sijhih (汐止), a car crashed into a toll booth, injuring five people.

Flights and trains to Taipei yesterday from 3pm onward were packed, with many people choosing to stand on a fully-booked train, rather than travel on the roads, to avoid traffic congestion.

Due to the number of passengers, northbound trains to Taipei were delayed by an average of 10 minutes, while southbound trains leaving Taipei were unaffected and remained on schedule.

Trains to and from both the south and the north were full from 3pm onward, while flights heading south still had 30 percent of seats available.

For international flights, Eva Air staff confirmed that flights from Hong Kong and Macao started to increase on Friday, with almost every return flight to Taiwan for yesterday and today being fully booked.

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