In the 1970s, Taiwan embarked on major basic infrastructure projects. The Freeway Construction Bureau was formally established on June 8, 1970 to handle the Sun Yat-sen National Freeway project. This freeway, also known as National Freeway No. 1, was the top priority of Taiwan’s Ten Major Construction Projects. Stretching from Keelung in the north to Kaohsiung in the south, the freeway was opened to traffic on October 31, 1978.
Based on operational needs after the opening of the Sun Yat-sen National Freeway, the Freeway Construction Bureau was reconfigured as the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau (TANFB) on December 1, 1978. Its focus shifted from construction to management, and it was given responsibility over freeway-related maintenance, expansion, traffic management, tolls, traveler services, and so forth.
With rapid economic growth in Taiwan and traffic saturation on the Sun Yat-sen National Freeway, plans were made for the Second Northern Freeway (the northern section of National Freeway No. 3). On March 5, 1987, an Engineering Office for the Second Northern Freeway was established. What’s more, to relieve population pressures in metropolitan Taipei and to speed up the development of eastern Taiwan, the Preparatory Office of the Nanyi Expressway Engineering Project was established on April 17, 1989, to handle the planning and construction of an expressway between Nangang and Ilan.
In order to unify authority over the construction of national freeways, the Northern Engineering Office for the Second Northern Freeway and the Preparatory Office of the Nanyi Expressway Engineering Project were merged into the new Taiwan Area National Expressway Engineering Bureau, which was responsible for the overall planning, design and construction of Taiwan’s freeway network.
With the goal of creating a “streamlined, flexible and efficient” government in order to bolster national competitiveness, the Executive Yuan embarked on efforts to reorganize its structure in 2012. As part of this effort, the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau and the Taiwan Area National Expressway Engineering Bureau was merged to create one agency responsible for the national freeways.Promulgated by the President on June 14, 2017, the Freeway Bureau came into being to coordinate all freeway-related matters.
Over the course of 50 years, Taiwan’s freeways have grown from the 373 kilometers of National Freeway No. 1 to a network of high-quality national freeways exceeding 1000 kilometers in total length. In the future, with the hard work of the new Freeway Bureau, there will be continued efforts to raise safety, strengthen efficiency and service quality and to provide the public with comfortable and convenient experiences when traveling on national freeways.