Heavy traffic on freeways as Taiwan celebrates Dragon Boat Festival

TAIPEI (CNA) —Holiday exodus resulted in traffic congestion on the southbound lane of national freeways beginning Friday morning, as the nation welcomed the long Dragon Boat Festival weekend, according to the Freeway Bureau.

The Nangang-Toucheng section of National Freeway No. 5 was congested with traffic as early as 6 a.m. Friday, with the average vehicle speed limited to 40km per hour, the Freeway Bureau said.

The average speed was the same in the Shiding-Toucheng section as of 5:30 p.m., beyond the expected congested period of up to 4 p.m., the Freeway Bureau said.

Other national freeways also saw vehicles accumulated in the morning, among them National Freeway No. 1 and No. 3. However, the situation gradually improved in the afternoon.

The Freeway Bureau foresees heavier southbound traffic on Saturday between 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., especially on the southbound lane of the Nangang-Pinglin section of National Freeway No. 5, in which travel time might be five times longer than usual.

Northbound traffic will be just as heavy. Travel time on the northbound lane of the Toucheng-Pinglin section from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. is predicted to be seven times lengthier than normal.

Travelers might start returning to northern Taiwan as early as Saturday afternoon before the long weekend ends on Sunday, which will result in traffic congestions Saturday, the Freeway Bureau predicted.

The Freeway Bureau is implementing several measures to decongest possible traffic during the holiday period, including zero toll fee on some sections between midnight to 5 a.m., discounted rates and a vehicle occupancy control scheme on some sections from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For real-time traffic conditions, visit http://1968.freeway.gov.tw/?lang=en or download the mobile app available at http://1968.freeway.gov.tw/app.

By Wang Shu-fen and Emerson Lim