TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Directorate General of Highways (DGH) predicts that traffic on the original highway sections replaced by the Suhua Improvement road will decrease significantly after the opening of the new road, though the older sections will receive the same level of maintenance to ensure their safety, CNA reported on Sunday (Jan. 5).
The remaining sections of the new 38.8-kilometer (km) road built under the Suhua Improvement project will open on Jan. 6, shortening the travel time between Yilan County's Su’ao Township and Hualien City by 59 minutes, CNA reported.
The new Suhua Improvement highway, which has been incorporated into Provincial Highway 9, consists of the three sections between Su’ao and Dong'ao, Nan’ao and Heping, and Hezhong and Dachingshui. The Su’ao-Dong'ao stretch has been open since Feb. 5, 2018.
Most of the new road, which is comprised of tunnels, replaces the old coastal sections that were regarded as unsafe during inclement weather. However, the upgraded Provincial Highway 9 still includes 22 km of the original route, said Chen He-ren (陳鶴仁), chief of the Directorate General of Highways' (DGH) Nan’ao Section.
The older sections of the Suhua Highway have been renamed Provincial Highway 9 Ding (Fourth) and will remain open to vehicles, according to the CNA report. These older sections mostly run along cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and are well-known for the magnificent ocean views they offer, making them popular among motorcyclists, bicyclists, and tourists.
Chen said that nearly all sedans and buses will travel on the new Suhua Improvement road after it opens and that the older sections will only be used by trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and local vehicles, making them safer.