Sun, Oct 08, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Heavy traffic clogs nation's highways, road bureau reports

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Heavy traffic continued to clog the nation's highways and freeways yesterday into the second day of the five-day Mid-Autumn Festival holidays.

According to the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau, traffic began moving slowly on national highways around 9am yesterday.

Serious traffic congestion occurred between Taoyuan and Chungli (中壢) on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway, between Toucheng (土城) and Longtan (龍潭) on the Formosa Freeway, and on the southern end of the Chiang Wei-shui Freeway. Overall, vehicles were moving at a speeds between 30kph and 50kph.

The queue at the entrance to the Hsueshan Tunnel was nearly 7km early yesterday morning.

The bureau reported yesterday that a total of 2.33 million vehicles had traveled on the nation's freeways on Friday, when the five-day holiday officially commenced.

The number exceeded that of this year's Chinese New Year's eve, which reached 1.93 million.

The Central Personnel Administration (CPA) decided last week to make tomorrow a national holiday, extending the original three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday into a five-day one.

The decision disrupted the transport plan officials had designed earlier.

The Freeway Bureau officials are now reportedly dreading the traffic condictions on Tuesday, the last day of the holiday. It is expected to get worse if some motorists fail to return early and decide to stay away until the last day, they said.

Meanwhile, the number of passengers taking trains and freeway buses on Friday reached 700,000.

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) managed on Friday to mobilize 221 trains to help transport homebound travelers.

To deal with the returning crowds that will pour into major train stations next Tuesday, the TRA decided yesterday that an emergency task force will be formed on every major railway section.

Chen Feng-nan (陳峰男), deputy director general of TRA, said yesterday that the agency's transportation management chief, Chang Ying-hui (張應輝), will be standing by at Taipei Main Station on Tuesday to handle any emergency.

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