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Reopening of Taiwan's Central Cross-Island Highway delayed by continuing landslides

Rubble expands to cover 7 acres due to torrential rain

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Major landslides have buried the Central Cross-Island Highway near Guanyuan.

Major landslides have buried the Central Cross-Island Highway near Guanyuan. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The reopening date for the Central Cross-Island Highway, which has been blocked by a series of landslides and rockfalls since March, has been postponed yet again due to ongoing disaster.

CNA reported that due to recent rain, the Guanyuan section of the highway has seen repeated and expanding landslides that have severely hindered the authorities’ efforts to reopen access. While the Directorate General of Highways (DGH) had estimated it could clear the path by Wednesday (May 11) following a major landslide that occurred on April 26, it has now postponed this to a still undetermined date.

The DGH was also cited as saying that after inspecting the scale of the disaster via drone footage, it estimated that the rubble from the landslide encompasses an area of approximately 7 acres, blocking over 100 meters of the highway. The obstacle may expand at any moment.

The construction team has been working from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. lately in order to reopen the highway as soon as possible, the DGH added. The work is risky due to continued rain, fog, and falling earth and rocks.

The Guanyuan section of the Central Cross-Island Highway first saw a fire of unknown cause in mid-March, and a rockfall was reported on March 22. Since the incident, rocks and dirt have continuously fallen at the site, forcing authorities to repeatedly close access.

The terrain in the area has been unstable due to frequent rain and earthquakes in eastern Taiwan.

Reopening of Taiwan's Central Cross-Island Highway delayed by continuing landslides
Construction worker captures footage of landslide on Central Cross-Island Highway. (Hsu Chung-chieh GIF)


Updated : 2022-05-24 07:55 GMT+08:00