Heavy highway traffic during long weekend

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Heavy traffic was reported on many stretches of highway in Northern Taiwan as the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday began yesterday, transport officials said.

The Highway Bureau said the congestion mainly occurred along southbound lanes, which were expected to see a total traffic volume of 2.6 million vehicles on the first day of the long weekend. Many highway sections saw car speeds drop below 40 kilometers per hour in the morning: the stretches from Hukou to Hsinchu and from Wangtian to Changhua on National Freeway No. 1; from Yinggo to Daxi, from Hsinchu to Jiadong and from Wuri to Wufeng on National Freeway No. 3, the bureau said. On National Freeway No. 5, traffic jams also occurred in the morning despite car-pool control being implemented, the bureau added.

In a bid to ease the holiday traffic, the bureau stopped collecting tolls on the highways from 11 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. yesterday, but it did not release figures about the traffic volume during those toll-free hours. Meanwhile, meteorologists forecast cloudy to sunny skies for most of the island today, with chances of afternoon thundershowers. Occasional rain may occur in mountain areas in northeastern and northern parts of Taiwan because of influence from a low-pressure system, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said. The CWB said the weather for Mid-Autumn Festival tomorrow will be more stable as a high pressure system in the Pacific Ocean gets stronger. The stable weather will last until Thursday, but afternoon thundershowers may still occur in mountain areas around the island, the CWB said. Day-time temperatures will be between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius in the north, central and south today, and 26 to 34 degrees in Eastern Taiwan, the CWB said.

High temperatures will be around 35 degrees Celsius throughout the week, it added.