Most freeway traffic subsides by end of long holiday

By Queena Yen, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Although large volumes of traffic were expected on the last day of the four-day holiday, most sections of the national highways were basically smooth, with few traffic jams yesterday. However, massive traffic jams still appeared on National Highway No. 5. Average speeds crept to lower than 50 kilometers around 10 a.m. yesterday. According to the National Freeway Bureau (NFB), good weather during the past few days made people want to travel and visit popular tourist sites. Statistics show the majority of vehicles appeared on Jan. 1, as there were 2.76 million vehicles that hit the road. This traffic volume is more than figures from last Dragon Boat Festival as well as Mid-Autumn Festival.

The NFB also stated that there were 2.51 million and 2.59 million vehicles hitting the road on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3, respectively. Most vehicles started out on tour on Jan. 2, while some traffic appeared to be returning home before the last holiday in an attempt to avoid traffic jams on Jan. 3, said the NFB. Many drivers decided to take advantage of the alternate rates period from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., when all national highways were free of charge during the holiday. In all, about 290,000 vehicles traveled on highways during this period, or about 1.8 times more than the normal traffic volume. The NFB said the estimated traffic volume for Sunday only amounts to about 2.3 million vehicles, which is the lowest volume of the four-day holiday.

As for the National Highway No. 5 that connects Taipei and Yilan, the NFB stressed that there is always an excessive volume of traffic on this highway during the holidays. Normally, National Highway No. 5 is expected to have the capacity for 2,400 vehicles every hour. As more cars appear on holidays, traffic congestion is inevitable, said the NFB. The NFB stressed that relevant authorities are working on new traffic plans to deal with this traffic problem. However, before new traffic plans are ready to implement, the NFB also encourages people to use provincial highways as alternatives or to utilize public transportation to avoid traffic during the holidays.