TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s highway authority said on Wednesday (March 2) that the entire Southern Cross-Island Highway (Provincial Highway 20) is expected to open to traffic by the end of April after the last stretch of the highway still under construction is completed, CNA reported.
A large portion of the Southern Cross-Island Highway was closed after August 2009, when it suffered extensive damage during Typhoon Morakot. A three-day deluge caused many landslides along the road and many bridges to be swept away by currents.
The construction to repair the highway has been hampered by heavy rains, which caused more landslides, and the schedule to reopen the entire highway has been delayed time and again, per CNA.
The section from Tianchi to Meishan was conditionally open from January 2020, and the entire highway was originally scheduled to open at the end of last year when the construction between Xiangyang and Tianchi was expected to complete, CNA reported.
However, the hope to reopen the entire highway by the end of last year was dashed by the Mingba Kelu Bridge being flushed away by currents during heavy rain in August as well as by the completion of construction along the highway’s east section between Xiangyang and Yakou being further delayed.
Directorate General of Highways official Chen Ke-jie (陳克劼) told CNA that the plan to reopen the entire Southern Cross-Island Highway by the end of April has remained unchanged. However, as the 44-kilometer section between Meishan and Xiangyang is still considered a “temporary makeshift road,” there will be some traffic control measures, which will be announced later, CNA cited Chen as saying.