The Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau has appropriated NT$114.8 billion (US$3.4 billion) for construction projects this year, which are expected to create about 2,000 jobs.
Bureau director-general Lee Tai-ming (李泰明) said yesterday the projects include increasing the number of lanes on Freeway No. 2 and building an overpass connecting Wugu (五股) in Taipei County and Yangmei (楊梅) in Taoyuan County.
The bureau also plans to build up to six new freeway interchanges: Minhsiung Interchange (民雄交流道) in Chiayi County, Tongluo Interchange (銅鑼交流道) and Touwu Interchange (頭屋交流道) in Miaoli County, Huwei Interchange (虎尾交流道) on Freeway No. 1 (Sun Yat-sen Freeway) and Kukeng Interchange (古坑交流道) in Yunlin County and Liouying Interchange (柳營交流道) in Tainan County on Freeway No. 3 (Formosa Freeway).
The Minhsiung and Huwei Interchanges are aimed at making life easier for passengers traveling to high-speed rail stations, while the Kukeng and Touwu interchanges would mainly promote tourism. The interchange in Tongluo will be used as a passageway to the southern part of the Hsinchu Science Park, which has expanded to the northern part of Miaoli. The Liouying Interchange will serve as an access road to the Dasinying Industrial Park (大新營工業區).
The bureau has budgeted about NT$2 billion for construction of all the interchanges.
Almost all of the construction projects are scheduled to be launched before the end of the year, although the bureau is still trying to secure land for construction of the Touwu Interchange.
Lee said the interchanges were expected to take about two to two-and-a-half years to complete.
The bureau said the Wugu-Yangmei Overpass project is scheduled to be launched in July, and the entire route is expected to be in full operation by October 2012. Construction costs for the overpass will top NT$88.2 billion.
The bureau is also planning to add a third eastbound lane on Freeway No. 2 between Taoyuan International Airport and Sanying (三鶯), where the road terminates at Freeway No. 3. The project will be completed in stages at an estimated cost of NT$13.4 billion, Lee said.
Lee added that the bureau was considering a system of bonuses and penalties to encourage contractors to complete projects ahead of schedule.