Cabinet announces traffic control measures for New Year holidays

Taiwan's national freeways will be toll-free from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. Dec. 29-31 and from 12 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Jan. 1 in the hope of easing daytime traffic during the four-day New Year holiday weekend, transportation authorities said Thursday.

TAIPEI (CNA) – Taiwan’s national freeways will be toll-free from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. Dec. 29-31 and from 12 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Jan. 1 in the hope of easing daytime traffic during the four-day New Year holiday weekend, transportation authorities said Thursday.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Thursday presented to the Cabinet a series of measures to manage the expected high traffic volume during the holiday. For the first time these included extending the toll-free period on the last day of the holiday.

Southbound traffic is expected to peak on Dec. 29, the first day of the holiday, while the same is expected of northbound traffic on Dec. 31, according to Chen Wen-ruey (陳文瑞), director-general of the ministry’s Department of Railways and Highways.

From 7 a.m. to noon on Dec. 29, only vehicles with three or more occupants will be allowed to use No. 1 Freeway southbound lanes between Neihu (內湖) and Toufen (頭份) as well as southbound lanes between Mucha (木柵) and Xiangshan (香山) on No. 3 freeway, he said.

The same rule will be applied to southbound lanes between Nangang (南港) in Taipei and Pinglin (坪林) in New Taipei on No. 5 freeway from 7 a.m. to noon on Dec. 29-30, Chen said at a press conference following the Cabinet meeting.

Vehicle occupancy controls will also be in place from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 31-Jan. 1 on all northbound onramps between Su’ao (蘇澳) and Toucheng (頭城) on No. 5 freeway, he added.

At usual traffic bottlenecks on freeways going south on Dec. 29 and north on Dec. 31, there could be as much as three to six times the usual volume of traffic, he said.

Southbound onramps of the Pingjhen (平鎮) system in Taoyuan County and Puyan (埔鹽) system in Changhua County on No.1 freeway will be closed for 48 hours starting midnight Dec. 29, he added.

Northbound onramps of the Huwei (虎尾) system in Yunlin County and Puyan system on No. 1 freeway, as well as Zhunan (竹南) system in Miaoli County on No.3 freeway will be closed from midnight Dec. 31 for 48 hours to control traffic flow, he said.

By Shih Hsiu-chuan