Traffic moved slowly on several sections of the northbound freeways in northern and central Taiwan yesterday as thousands of people returned home on the final day of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival weekend.
Traffic began to slow in some sections of freeways in the north after 2pm, including the section between the Toucheng (頭城) Interchange and Pinglin (坪林) on Freeway No. 5.
By 4:30pm, slow traffic was also reported between the Jhongli (中壢) and Pingjhen (平鎮) interchanges and between Hsinchu and Chubei (竹北) on Freeway No. 1, as well as between the Chulin (竹林) interchange and Hsinchu on Freeway 3. Speeds in these sections slowed to between 20kph and 40kph.
Aside from congestion in those sections, speeds in other areas were between 60kph and 80kph.
To ease freeway traffic during the holiday, the National Freeway Bureau had announced that no tolls would be collected from 12am to 7am during the three-day holiday.
The measure helped divert part of the traffic. Bureau statistics showed that 225,000 motor vehicles used the freeways during the toll-free hours yesterday, or 1.4 times more than traffic volume on regular weekends.
Statistics from the bureau also showed that freeway traffic volume on the first two days surpassed 2 million vehicles.
A total of 2.23 million vehicles used the freeways on Saturday.
Traffic volume was reported to have reached 2.16 million yesterday.
Travel volume on Saturday and Sunday also registered a 39 percent and 35 percent increase respectively from yearly average traffic volume.
The bureau attributed relatively smoother traffic on the final day of the holiday to motorists choosing to return home on Sunday.
It estimated that traffic volume yesterday also surpassed 2 million vehicles.
Meanwhile, the bureau activated meters at interchanges to regulate freeway traffic.
Some of the shoulder lanes on Freeway No. 3 were also opened for traffic from 7am to 7pm yesterday, including the southbound lanes from Dashi (大溪) and Longtan (龍潭) and the northbound lanes from Wufong (霧峰) to the Jhongtou (中投) interchange.