The Wugu-Yangmei Overpass along the National Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1) may not become operational before the Lunar New Year holiday next year, the National Expressway Engineering Bureau said yesterday.
The government started building an expressway connecting Wugu (五股) in New Taipei City (新北市) and Yangmei (楊梅) in Taoyuan County in 2009 along Freeway No. 1 to ease traffic during peak hours.
Construction costs of the 40km overpass are estimated at NT$88 billion (US$2.9 billion), with 85 percent of the expressway being built on an overpass. Once it is built, the overpass will also be the first freeway section in the nation that has a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane.
The project was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. However, bureau chief engineer Lu Jieh-bin (呂介斌) said the construction of the connection between the overpass and Freeway No. 2 has been seriously delayed and the expressway may not become operational by the end of this year.
Lu said the contractor building that freeway section did not have sufficient personnel and equipment to do the job.
He said the project was further delayed because of a series of worker accidents on the construction site.
Also, the contractor has had problems renting sufficient properties for the project, he said.
Despite a failure to meet a previous deadline, Lu said that the section between Jhungli (中壢) and Yangmei could be opened to traffic before the end of this year.