Fri, Apr 05, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Millions hit the nation’s clogged freeways

MAD ABOUT THE JAMS:With freeway users experiencing speeds of as little as 10kph on certain sections, many drivers vented their frustrations on social networking sites

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

An estimated 2.6 million vehicles hit the freeways yesterday as the nation entered the first day of the Tomb Sweeping long weekend.

The National Freeway Bureau said that the traffic was already slow at about 9am. The speed on southbound sections of freeways, including the section between Sanchong (三重) and Neili (內壢), as well as between Yangmei (楊梅) and Hsinchu on Freeway No. 1, was only 10kph to 30kph. A similar situation was also seen on sections of Freeway No. 3 and Freeway No. 5.

In the south, some of the northbound sections saw speeds drop to between 10kph and 20kph.

The slow traffic enraged some freeway users, who vented their frustration online.

“What the heck? It takes less than 10 minutes to drive from Jhonghe (中和) to Toucheng (土城) on a weekday. It took about 100 minutes today,” one driver posted on his Facebook page.

The bureau said that the first day of the holiday would see the heaviest traffic as people travel to clean family tombs and also make some short-distance trips.

The volume of traffic yesterday was forecast to hit 2.6 million vehicles, comparable to a Lunar New Year holiday.

The bureau said the freeways will be toll-free from midnight to 7am each day during the four-day holiday. Some of the hard shoulders, such as the one between Dashi (大溪) and Longtan (龍潭), are open to traffic between 7am and 7pm to ease congestion.

Meanwhile, the Central Weather Bureau forecast that the chance of rain would remain high on the west coast, as well as in the northeast, both today and tomorrow due to a frontal system that arrived on Wednesday.

While the rain is likely to ease on Sunday, a cold air mass is forecast to arrive tomorrow night and lower temperatures nationwide, the bureau said.

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