Severe traffic congestion expected on freeways during Lunar New Year

Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) Traffic on Taiwan‘s freeways during the Lunar New Year holiday this month will be more congested than in previous years, particularly on the roads in eastern parts of the country where an upgraded highway is about to open, according to the transportation ministry.

With the opening of the upgraded Suhua Highway on Monday, travel between Greater Taipei and the northeast coast is likely to spike during the Jan. 23-29 holiday period, the ministry said.

In anticipation of the heavy traffic on Freeway No. 5, which connects to the Suhua Highway, and on other freeways throughout the country, measures will be put in place during the seven-day holiday period to ease the flow of traffic, the ministry said.

The measures will include suspension of all tolls between midnight and 5 a.m. Jan. 23-29, and a flat rate of NT$0.9 (US$0.03) per kilometer during the paid period, which will be a 25 percent discount on the standard rate, according to the ministry.

Motorists traveling between the Hsinchu and Yanchao interchanges on National Freeway No. 3 will receive an additional 20 percent off, the transportation ministry said.

However, the standard toll-free first 20km of travel on all freeways will not apply during the holiday, the ministry added.

There will also be high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) controls in place, allowing only vehicles with three or more occupants onto certain sections of freeways No. 1, 3 and 5 during the seven-day holiday, according to the ministry.

It advised that the best time to travel on the southbound lanes of the country’s freeways in the Jan. 25-27 will be after 1 p.m., while northbound travel Jan. 27-29 will likely be less congested before 10 a.m.

During peak periods, travel on the northbound lanes on Freeway No. 5, between the Toucheng onramps in Yilan and the Pinglin onramps in New Taipei, which usually takes an average 20 minutes, is likely take five to seven times longer, it said.

On the southbound lanes on Freeway No. 5, between the Nangang onramps in Taipei and the Pinglin onramps, which also averages 20 minutes, the travel time will be about three to five times longer, the ministry said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)


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