Post-holiday jams ahead as travelers head back to work

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Unprecedented traffic congestion is expected on the nation’s freeways Tuesday, as travelers head home in time for work following the Lunar New Year holiday, the National Freeway Bureau has warned.

The bureau said traffic would be at its worst Tuesday afternoon

Morning traffic around 10 a.m. was relatively smooth flowing, with average speeds of above 80 kilometers per hour on the southbound and northbound lanes of Freeways No. 1 and No. 3.

But signs of a slowdown were already apparent on Freeway No. 5, with Yilan-bound vehicles clocking average speeds of around 30 kilometers per hour.

Major northbound traffic is expected to increase on Freeway No. 1.’s Shiluo (西螺) to Puyan (埔鹽), Nantun (南屯) to Fengyuan (豐原), Tongluo (銅鑼) to Touwu (頭屋) and Hsinchu to Hukou Township (湖口) sections.

On Freeway No. 3, heavy traffic is expected between Longtan (龍潭) to Yingge (鶯歌). Travelers on Freeway No. 5 are warned to watch out for congestion between Toucheng (頭城) and Pinglin (坪林).

Measures were taken in anticipation of the heavy traffic, including the suspension of toll collection from 11 p.m. on Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday, the closing of the entrance to Freeway No. 1 from the Puyan system for northbound lanes and the closure of both lanes at Freeway No. 3’s Mingjian (名間) and Zhunan (竹南) entrances.

High-occupancy-vehicle restrictions were imposed on the northbound entrances of Freeway No. 1 between Kaohsiung and Hukou Township in Hsinchu County, as well as on Freeway No. 3 between Pingtung County and Daxi District in Taoyuan City from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and in Yilan County from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The bureau said the public could catch the latest traffic information through radio updates, as well as on the National Freeway Bureau’s website and mobile application.

Drivers should avoid driving while tired and take precautions to prevent breakdowns, the bureau added.