Traffic between New Taipei City (新北市) and Taoyuan is expected to soon flow smoothly after the National Expressway Engineering Bureau announced yesterday that a section from Jhungli (中壢) to Yangmei (楊梅) on the Wugu-Yangmei Overpass would be opened on Sunday.
The overpass has been added to the side of the Sun Yat-Sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1) to solve traffic congestion between Wugu and Yangmei. Currently, the average driving speed on the section is about 40kph during rush hour.
Construction of the Jhungli-Yangmei section was completed early last month and has just passed inspection, the bureau said, adding that the section would be officially opened for traffic at 4pm on Sunday. The section between Wugu and Jhungli is scheduled to be operational before the Lunar New Year holiday next year.
The bureau said that large trucks are banned from using the overpass. As the overpass has been designed to be used by long-distance drivers and does not have any interchanges along the way, the bureau said that drivers who have to access the Jhungli (中壢), Pingjhen (平鎮), Youshih (幼獅) and Yangmei (楊梅) interchanges still have to use the applicable traffic lanes on Freeway No. 1.
To access the Jhungli-Yangmei section, southbound drivers can switch to the overpass after passing the Neili (內壢) Interchange. They will return to the freeway before the Yangmei Toll Station. Those heading north can access the overpass after passing the Yangmei Toll Station and can continue all the way to the Neili Interchange on the freeway.
The bureau said the Jhungli-Yangmei section is 12km long, with a speed limit of 100kph. The opening of the section on the overpass could raise the average driving speed in the same section on the freeway from 40kph to between 80kph and 90kph. The average driving speed on the overpass could also be up to 90kph, the bureau added.
The bureau first proposed building the overpass in 2004. The project raised many issues at the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) environmental impact assessment committee, which did not approve the project until June 2008. The bureau began constructing the 40km overpass in October 2009.
To bypass the geologically sensitive zone on Freeway No. 1’s northbound section in Linkou (林口), the bureau built the nation’s first double-deck viaduct on the freeway’s southbound section to facilitate two-way traffic.
The bureau said the overpass would have three traffic lanes on both the northbound and southbound sections from Taishan (泰山) to Jhungli (中壢).
One of the lanes is to be designated a high-occupancy vehicle lane, which only drivers carrying at least two passengers can use.