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20% off tolls weekend ahead of Tomb Sweeping Day

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Tolls on all national highways will be given a round-the-clock 20-percent discount on March 29 and March 30, the weekend before Tomb Sweeping Day (清明節) on April 5, in an effort to decrease traffic congestion.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) yesterday approved the National Freeway Bureau's proposal to give toll discounts on March 29 and March 30 in order to encourage the public to sweep their family tombs earlier.

In the past, tolls were waived during nighttime in the week leading up to Tomb Sweeping Day, but since highways are now using the electronic toll collection system, a round-the-clock 20-percent discount will prove to be more attractive for motorists, the bureau said.

According to the bureau's preliminary plans, tolls will be waived from midnight to 5 a.m. on April 4, 5 and 6. The bureau added, however, that it has yet to decide whether high-occupancy control should be implemented on the southbound lanes of National Highway No. 5.

The MOTC is scheduled to hold a meeting on the proposal on Thursday.

The bureau said that Tomb Sweeping Day is an important holiday in Taiwan, and that there will be a lot of traffic on highways during that weekend.

In addition to waiving tolls from midnight to 5 a.m. on April 4-6, high-occupancy controls may be placed on National Highway No. 5.

High occupancy controls require the collaboration of local police, the bureau said, adding that the controls will likely be placed on the northbound lanes of National Highway No. 5., but that a decision has not been reached on whether or not southbound lanes on the same highway would also be covered.

Meanwhile, seven sections of the nation's highways will have additional lanes opened for traffic from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 29 and 30.

The sections include the southbound lanes of Yangmei (楊梅) to Hukou (湖口) and the southbound lanes of Hsinchu's Xinan Rd. entry point (新竹新安路入口) to Hsinchu Interchange (新竹系統) on National Highway No. 1.

Also to be included are the southbound lanes of Daxi (大溪) to Longtan (龍潭), the southbound lanes near Guanxi Service Area (關西服務區), the northbound lanes from Wufeng (霧峰) to Zhongtou (中投), the northbound lanes of Jhulin (竹林) to Guanxi (關西) and the northbound lanes near the now defunct Longton toll station on National Highway No. 3.

The traffic flow on March 29 and March 30 will be much heavier than usual, and there will be a significant likelihood of congestion in several sections, the bureau explained.

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