Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

CEPD approves plan to upgrade Suhua Highway

CEPD approves plan to upgrade Suhua Highway

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) approved on Monday a plan to upgrade the Suhua Highway on Taiwan's east coast, which it believes will cut travel time between Suao and Hualien by 25 percent when construction is completed in 2016.
Under the plan to enhance the safety of the highway, seven tunnels covering 22.2 kilometers and 7.7 km of viaducts and bridges will be built to replace dangerous sections of the road lining coastal cliffs, the CEPD said.
The improved roadway will be 16.7 kilometers shorter than the existing single-lane 118-km highway -- the main artery connecting Yilan County and Hualien City that takes just under three hours to navigate and is vulnerable to landslides.
Most of the new construction will take place on the 77-km section between Suao and Chungte Township, which lies at the entrance to the central cross-island highway leading to Taroko Gorge.
It usually takes about two hours to cover this stretch of road, but the CEPD said travel time will be cut to 72 minutes once the modified roadway is completed.
Construction on the highway upgrade, estimated to cost NT$40 billion, is expected to begin in 2011, the CEPD added.
Before construction begins, however, the proposed upgrade project must still pass an environmental impact assessment review and then be approved by the Executive Yuan.
The CEPD stressed that the main purpose of fixing the existing highway is to improve its safety, unlike other road upgrade plans that generally focus on expanding capacity and cutting travel time.
The feasibility study of the plan approved Monday by the CEPD was drafted by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) , which will undertake the environment impact assessment review and propose a construction plan, which will also need to be submitted to the CEPD for approval.
There are no plans to build a more expensive expressway, the CEPD emphasized, because improving the existing highway is still seen as the best solution.
The controversial Suao-Hualien expressway was proposed more than a decade ago but faced strong opposition by environmental experts and activists who believed it would destroy the scenic beauty, flora, fauna and ecological balance in the area.
Proponents of the expressway argued that it would boost the economy in eastern Taiwan, a region that is relatively underdeveloped and consists mostly of farming townships.
(By Erin Ho and Fanny Liu)




Updated : 2021-10-25 00:07 GMT+08:00