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Widening No. 2 Freeway driven by expected growth of Taoyuan, building of Aerotropolis

NFB
Lee Thay-Ming is the director general of the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau.
NFB
Officials of the National Freeway Bureau meet to discuss the implementation of the highways expansion project.
The Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau has launched plans to widen and improve the No.2 Freeway. The Executive Yuan has listed the work as a special ...
Widening No. 2 Freeway driven by expected growth of Taoyuan, building of Aerotropolis

NFB Lee Thay-Ming is the director general of the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau.

NFB Officials of the National Freeway Bureau meet to discuss the implementation of the highways expansion project.

The Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau has launched plans to widen and improve the No.2 Freeway. The Executive Yuan has listed the work as a special ...

Widening No. 2 Freeway driven by expected growth of Taoyuan, building of Aerotropolis

The widening of the No.2 Freeway is one of the most urgent challenges facing the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and as the global economic crisis has spread to hit Taiwan, the Executive Yuan has listed this plan as a special major project. With a completion date set for the end of 2011, the whole bureau is determined to work together to finish the project according to the time and quality standards required by the government.
The No.2 Freeway from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in the west to the Yingge Interchange with the No.3 Freeway in the east runs over a total length of 20.4 kilometers and is the most important road connection with Taiwan's gateway to the world, the international airport. The freeway goes right through the heart of populous Taoyuan County, with its 1.96 million inhabitants one of the fastest growing regions in Taiwan. The road also links Taiwan's two most prominent North-South Freeways, the No.1 or Sun Yat-sen Freeway and the more recent No.3 Freeway, with each other, providing drivers with an alternative route especially on busy holidays. Because of the growth in traffic at the airport, partly caused by the introduction of closer direct flights with China, and the continuing development of the Taoyuan area, the traffic situation on the No.2 Freeway has gradually worsened, causing traffic jams on an almost regular basis. The situation is likely to get even worse soon, as traffic needs are expected to rise because of the development of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis near the airport.
The project includes the nearby Farglory Free Trade Port Zone, which is expected to play a major role as an international logistics center for the East Asia region. There are plans to expand the zone from its present 45 hectares to a total of 290 hectares.
Aerotropolis to increase traffic
The Aerotropolis is also expected to include an International Commerce and Trade Exhibition Park to host major fairs. However, the adjacent area will also feature hotels, shopping malls, and a multifunctional sports arena suited for baseball and indoor sports. The expansion is likely to attract further investments by airlines and financial companies, according to the project's website.
The presence of the Aerotropolis plays a major part in the considerations for a wider No.2 Freeway, as the emergence of so many new sites open to the public at large could lead to congestion paralyzing traffic in the area. In addition, there are also more plans afoot for passenger and freight park areas adjacent to the airport.
As a result of the projected expansion, the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau has launched plans to widen and improve the No.2 Freeway. The Executive Yuan has listed the work as a special major project with the end of 2011 as its completion date. The widening of the road is one of several government projects designed to increase Taiwan's efficiency and competitiveness as an international investment destination and production and logistics base. Public construction is also seen as an efficient way to counter the global economic crisis, attracting new investment and fighting unemployment by creating new jobs.
A complex project
Several problematic aspects of the No.2 Freeway widening include the impact of urban planning, the use of access roads to homes and industrial areas, restrictions to the widening of bridges, and the use of night work. During the drawing-up stage of the project, the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau considered measures to reduce the impact of the works on the environment and on existing traffic. The bureau wants to put the completion of the project on the same level as maintenance of the traffic flow, reaching a double-win result while taking on a major construction project that can be finished on time and according to the expected quality level.
According to evaluation results, the project shows it is absolutely necessary, no matter whether one only takes the present traffic situation into account, or whether one looks at the issue from estimated future transportation needs. The net value of the project will amount to NT$9.18 billion, and have a price-to-earnings ratio of 1.95, showing the potential of its economic benefit. The original official termination date of the project listed on the Executive Yuan documents was May 2012.
The project includes the widening of the freeway but also the strengthening of existing bridges against earthquakes. The section between the Tayuan Interchange and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport will have a total of eight lanes, while the part from the airport to Yingge will count six lanes. Interchanges along the freeway will also be upgraded and a new branch road will be built to connect the Tayuan Interchange with the Taiwan Provincial Highway No.15, also known as Tai No.15 or the West Coast Highway, providing an alternative route for north-south traffic in the region. The new connection can also be used by travelers and commuters heading for the airport from the Taoyuan coastal area and from the Tamshui area in Taipei County.
The No.2 Freeway plan has been carved up into eight bids, only two of which have not been awarded yet. Bid H21A failed to move ahead several times, forcing a reopening of the process, with a new search for bidders recently restarted. The project for the Tayuan tributary road, or bid H12, is still under negotiation due to diverging views on its precise trajectory. Of the other six bids, work began first on the priority H21B bid on March 3, while construction on the other five bids started up before June 1 without exception.
In time for R.O.C.'s 100th birthday
Government leaders have gone out of their way to pay attention to this project. Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Mao Chi-kuo attended three presentations of reports on the plans. In his comments, he emphasized the importance of a timely completion. Minister without Portfolio Fan Liang-shiow visited the Freeway Bureau on February 9 to hear a project report. After evaluating all the bids, the bureau decided that the completion date for the project could be brought forward from the original 2012 to December 2011, but at present the target is for cars to start driving over the widened road before October 10, 2011, Taiwan's National Day in the 100th year of the Republic of China.
Because of the importance of the project and the hopes of senior officials for a timely completion, the Freeway Bureau called a full-day meeting with construction advisors, subcontractors, supervisors and all department heads on June 8. During the meeting, the director repeated the absolute necessity for the project to be completed by the government-set time limit of 2011. He also insisted on the need not to obstruct continuing traffic on the roads during the works, to allow vehicles to use the original amount of lanes and to reduce the impact of the construction work on the traffic flow.
In addition to the time pressure posed by the 2011 deadline, some parts of the project also faced numerous protests from local residents over the use of land in an area with a high density of homes and industrial buildings. The fact that more negotiation is needed with local residents and their representatives also complicates the bureau's plans, necessitating efforts in the direction of a positive resolution.
Report on the detailed phases of the widening project for the No.2 Freeway by the Construction Affairs Taskforce
The project is restricted by the fact that it is supposed to be executed close to numerous homes and industrial areas with difficult access roads. The project faces a limited space in which to work on the widening of bridges, the problem of allowing traffic to continue during the works, as well as night work. Therefore, the Freeway Bureau will take the following concrete measures during the project period related to protecting the environment and maintaining traffic flow:
In the field of environment and protection of the scenery, the project will lessen the impact on the environment and on the local scenery by:
1. Reducing digging work on hillsides, making a detailed evaluation of the range of the works, and keeping the present vegetation intact.
2. Leaving some land for the future planting of trees as a way of welcoming people coming from or going to the airport.
3. Implementing environmentally friendly design to facilitate the drainage of excess water from the project sites and setting up drainage ponds.
4. Keeping noise to the strictest minimum by using low-sound and low-tremor techniques, cutting the risk of damage to neighboring homes.
5. Erecting high-powered sound barriers near heavily populated areas to reduce the influence of passing traffic on local residents.
In the fields of special engineering and new techniques and materials: building new roads and widening existing ones are two different things. If the area over which works proceed is long, then supply lines will also be long and complicated. Working on different sections will lengthen the duration of the project, maintaining the traffic flow will be complicated, while there will also be cables that have to be moved. In order to allow the project to proceed normally and reach completion in 2011, the bureau will:
1. Draw up detailed plans to prepare materials and supplies early.
2. Manage the key technology necessary for the construction work, plan policies to speed up the project thoroughly in advance, plan the most efficient itinerary for the work proceedings, and save time by the optimal use of space.
3. Use new materials to raise the speed of the project, such as a type of concrete that can be more easily poured and needs less human intervention.
4. Close roads only partially so that the works do not influence existing traffic and the safety of road users too much.
5. Reduce the impact of the works on existing traffic by allowing vehicles to drive on part of the road while works proceed.
The bureau will maintain traffic during the construction work. During the day, traffic will be allowed to proceed on the usual number of lanes, while work that might occupy the outer lanes will be executed during the night. The project will use rapidly removable barriers to separate the road surface used by traffic from the areas where construction takes place. Changes will be effected during the shortest possible time, with care taken of the safety of road users. If local roads need to be closed off, effective alternatives or temporary roads will be opened, with attention paid to signalization of the changed circumstances. Any changes will also be passed on to road users through several information systems, including digital signalization, traditional road signs, and bulletins on radio stations.
Management of the project will be intensive because the plan has to be completed by December 2011. The key elements in the progress of the project will be closely monitored from start to finish, as will the particularities of each separate part of the construction. A detailed progress chart of the whole project has been drawn up, with a risk assessment completed beforehand so measures could be designed to deal with problems. The method will allow the project to remove work site problems and other impediments, while the risk will be cut down to the bare minimum, allowing the work to move ahead according to schedule.
Alternate routes during
construction
Because it will be impossible for the No.2 Freeway project not to affect present traffic, the Freeway Bureau has specially prepared two alternative routes to the airport. Drivers coming from the North should leave the No.1 Freeway at the Wuku Interchange and take 107 A to Taiwan Provincial Highway 64, and then continue south on 61 to 15 to 4 to arrive at the airport in Taoyuan. Drivers traveling up from the South can leave the No.1 Freeway at the Pingjhen Interchange before continuing on the Provincial Highways 66, 61, 15 A, 15 and 4. Drivers coming from the South on the No.3 Freeway can change to Provincial Highway 66 at the Tahsi Interchange.
The Freeway Bureau will announce the alternative routes on changeable panels and on Police Radio Station broadcasts. Travelers can also consult the website http://1968. nfreeway.gov.tw for the latest information before they take to the road.
The Freeway Bureau was established in 1970 as Taiwan's economy first took off. The government launched major infrastructure programs, including the No.1 Freeway or Sun Yat-sen Freeway, which was completed in 1978.
Multi-tasking for the Bureau
As a result, the bureau was put in charge of maintenance and expansion of Taiwan's young freeway system. A key element of the new network was also the levying of toll fees to finance the project. In addition, the bureau also had to manage the roadside, including rest areas and greenery. The organization thus became an expert in land management and in the handling of plant and tree species suitable for embellishing the nation's freeways.
Another aspect of the bureau's work was the handling of land, real estate and other assets in preparation for the construction of new freeway. Research and development thus became major functions of the bureau in addition to pure engineering.
The Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau has a special division to deal with projects such as the No.2 Freeway.
The Widening Construction Office was established in 1991 as a special department under the bureau. Its original task was to manage the 21.5-kilometer stretch of elevated viaduct between Sijhih and Wuku in Taipei County. The elevated section was designed to alleviate traffic congestion on the part of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway closest to the capital.
Since other parts of the same freeway later also suffered from similar problems, the office became a permanent department of the bureau. Its projects included the widening of 80 kilometers of freeway between Yangmei, Taoyuan County, and Hsinchu and between Hsinchu and Sanyi, Miaoli County, in 1996.
Two years later, the government decided that the quest for economic expansion warranted the widening of the remaining 155 kilometers of the aging Sun Yat-sen Freeway.
The Widening Construction Office's present responsibilities include making improvements to major freeway interchanges, retrofitting bridges, refurbishing toll stations and service areas, and managing traffic during the period of widening construction works, according to its website.
Current Freeway Bureau Director-General Lee Thay-ming served as head of the Widening Construction Office from 1991 until 1998. During that period, many private corporations in Taiwan were trying to obtain ISO certification, the bureau's website says. In an effort to apply the quality label to help raise the efficiency of public services, the Office became not only the first government organization to promote ISO certification, but also became the first public body to win the label. The Widening Construction Office's triumph set a landmark, with other public service departments following suit and launching a new trend.
Lee, 58, graduated in civil engineering from National Taiwan University and obtained a master's degree at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand. He joined the Freeway Bureau as an engineer in 1975 and became its director-general in 2006.


Updated : 2021-05-18 07:17 GMT+08:00