Freeway Bureau takes steps to ease Tomb Sweeping Festival congestion

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) —Freeway tolls will be lowered on the two weekends leading up the Tomb Sweeping Festival, and the cuts will be bigger than usual, as part of an effort to avoid heavy congestion during the April 2-5 holiday, the National Freeway Bureau said Friday.

Motorists traveling on Taiwan’s freeways on the weekends of March 21 and 28 will pay a toll of NT$0.63 (US$0.02) per kilometer, 30 percent less than the typical holiday rate of NT$0.9 per kilometer, the bureau said.

Calling it an “early bird discount,” the bureau said it hopes the lower tolls will encourage people to make the traditional visits to the gravesites of their ancestors before the four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival so as to avoid traffic jams.

During the Tomb Sweeping Festival weekend, the usual holiday toll of NT$0.9 per kilometer will apply, and freeways will be toll-free between midnight and 5 a.m. April 2-4 and from midnight to 10 a.m. on April 5, the bureau said

Despite all the measures, however, traffic is likely to be heavy on Freeway No. 5, which connects Taipei and Yilan in northeastern Taiwan, with the travel speed dropping to less than 40 kilometers per hour on some sections, the bureau said.

On that freeway, traffic is likely to be slow on the section between the Nangang and Pinglin onramps in the southbound lanes from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 21 and 28 and April 2 and 3, as well as on the northbound lanes between the Toucheng and Pinglin onramps from noon to 10 p.m. on March 22 and 29 and April 4 and 5, the bureau said.

In those peak periods, motorists are advised to take Provincial Highway No. 9, which links Taipei and Pingtung across eastern Taiwan, the bureau said.