Traffic congestion on the nation’s freeways during the Lunar New Year holiday this month is expected to be heavier than in previous years, particularly along the east coast, where an upgraded highway has opened, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.
With the opening of the upgraded Suhua Highway (蘇花公路) yesterday, traffic between the greater Taipei area and the northeast coast is likely to spike during the holiday from Jan. 23 to Jan. 29, the ministry said.
Measures would be taken during the holiday to ease traffic congestion in anticipation of heavy traffic on the Chiang Wei-shui Memorial Freeway (Freeway No. 5), which connects to the Suhua Highway, and other freeways, it said.
Photo courtesy of the Suhua Improvement Engineering Office
The measures include suspension of all toll fees between midnight and 5am during the holiday, and the implementation of a flat rate of NT$0.9 per kilometer during paid hours, which is a 25 percent discount on the standard rate, the ministry said.
Motorists traveling between the Hsinchu and Yanchao interchanges on the Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) would be given an additional discount of 20 percent, it said, but added that the first 20km of travel would not be free as it was during previous holidays.
High-occupancy vehicle controls would be in place, allowing only vehicles with three or more occupants onto certain sections of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), and freeways No. 3 and No. 5, the ministry said.
From Jan. 25 to Jan. 27, the best time to drive south would be after 1pm, while from Jan. 27 to Jan. 29, northbound travel would likely be less congested before 10am, it said.
During peak periods, travel time on the northbound lanes of Freeway No. 5 between the Toucheng (頭城) on-ramp in Yilan County and the Pinglin (坪林) on-ramp in New Taipei City, which usually takes about 20 minutes on average, would likely take five to seven times longer, the ministry said.
Travel time on the southbound lanes of the freeway between the Nangang (南港) on-ramp in Taipei and the Pinglin on-ramp, which also averages about 20 minutes, would be about three to five times longer, it added.
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