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Traffic congestion for eastern Taiwan predicted for 228 Memorial Day weekend

Government urges travelers to use public transport to save time

File photo of southbound traffic on National Freeway 5. 

File photo of southbound traffic on National Freeway 5.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) expects traffic volume on National Freeway 5 to start rising as early as Feb. 25 for the extended 228 Memorial Day weekend, and encouraged the public to use public transport when traveling to east Taiwan.

In a press release, the Freeway Bureau said since east Taiwan is a popular destination for domestic travel, it anticipates heavy freeway traffic. The Freeway Bureau will be implementing traffic control measures for National Freeway 5 such as carpool requirements, closed entrances, and entrance and exit monitoring.

The bureau predicted that during peak hours, certain sections of the freeway will see traffic speeds lower than 40 kilometers per hour, extending travel duration by five to seven times compared to normal days, including the time spent queuing up to enter the freeway.

Peak hours for southbound traffic between Nangang and Pinglin will include 9 a.m. to midnight on Feb. 25 (the day before the extended weekend), 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 26, and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 27. Peak hours for northbound traffic between Yilan and Pinglin will include 11 a.m. to midnight on Feb. 27, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 28.

The bureau recommended travelers use public transport or take alternate routes. As several measures will be in place to ensure that coach buses get priority on the freeway, taking a coach bus will save travelers at least 30 minutes of travel time, per the Freeway Bureau.

Those taking National Freeway 5 should note that on Feb. 26 and 27, southbound entrances at Shiding and Pinglin will be closed between midnight and noon while a carpool requirement will be in place for southbound traffic between 6 a.m. and noon. On Feb. 27 and 28, northbound traffic will be subject to a carpool requirement between 2-9 p.m.