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Monkeys use new bridge in E Taiwan to cross natural barrier

60-meter roofed Guin Bridge spans valley between Guanin and Gufeng tunnels

(Suhua Improvement Engineering Office photo)

(Suhua Improvement Engineering Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Engineers working intensely to prepare the new road constructed under the Suhua Improvement Project for its scheduled opening on Jan. 5, 2020, found that a bridge connecting two tunnels is being used by monkeys native to the area as a shortcut to cross the valley between them, CNA reported on Tuesday (Nov. 20).

The 60-meter roofed Guin Bridge connects the 7.9-kilometer Guanin Tunnel and 4.7-kilometer Gufeng Tunnel, which are separated only by a valley. The combined length of the two tunnels, 12.6 kilometers, is second only to the Hsuehshan Tunnel on National Highway 5.

Suhua Improvement Engineering Office Director Shau How-jei (邵厚潔) said that as workers were finishing up on Guin Bridge in October, they often found monkeys walking on the makeshift maintenance path on top of the bridge's roof, taking a shortcut across the valley and turning the bridge into an unconventional “ecological corridor,” the news agency reported.

Shau said the bridge is located in the eco-sensitive Guanin River Valley between Yilan’s Nan’ao and Hualien’s Heping townships. In the past, groups of wild monkeys could be seen making a long detour across the mountains along Provincial Highway 9 in order to cross the river valley, but now they are smart enough to take advantage of the rooftop path to cross, according to CNA.

The Suhua Improvement Engineering Office has installed infrared cameras on either side of the bridge to record what other “guests” are using the manmade shortcut, according to the news agency.