TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After years of work and anticipation, Kinmen Bridge officially opened for public use on Sunday (Oct. 30).
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 3 p.m. to mark the bridge’s grand opening for regular traffic. The ceremony was attended by Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), the Minister of Transportation and Communication Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材), the Kinmen County executive Yang Cheng-wu (楊鎮浯), and former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Kinmen Bridge is 5.4 kilometers long, and 4.77 kilometers over the sea. It will connect the main island of Kinmen with Lieyu (烈嶼), the second largest island in Kinmen County.
The project is Taiwan’s first bridge to cross ocean waters. Plans for the bridge were first approved by the Legislative Yuan in 2010. Earlier this week, on Oct. 25, the bridge was inspected and approved by the Freeway Bureau.
After the ribbon-cutting and opening remarks, officials boarded a Kinmen County electric bus for its inaugural ride on the new route across the Kinmen Bridge. Although some vehicles crossed the bridge earlier in the morning, the bridge was officially opened to private vehicles following the 3 p.m. ceremony.
UDN reported that former President Ma, whose administration approved the project, said the Taiwan Kinmen Bridge (金門大橋) rivals San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge in both length and in the difficulty of the construction process. The new bridge in Kinmen, a name that literally means gold gate, is twice as long as the Golden Gate Bridge in California.
Vice Premier Shen, representing the Tsai administration, congratulated the engineers and laborers who worked on the project, and also local residents who finally realized their long-held hopes of a bridge connecting Kinmen and Leiyu. He also said the central government hopes the bridge will do a great deal to contribute to the development of Kinmen, by helping to facilitate transportation, and to boost tourism.
The county executive of Kinmen, Yang Cheng-wu, said that originally the bridge was envisioned as a project that would be 30% for local transport and 70% for boosting tourism. People in Kinmen have been talking about having such a bridge for over 30 years, and the opening of the bridge will be seen as a historic milestone for Kinmen’s future development and prosperity, said Yang.
Yang also added that he hopes the government in Taipei will re-open transit routes for tourists from China to visit Kinmen County again as soon as possible. Yang and local officials expressed hope that Chinese tourists would be permitted to return to Kinmen before the next Lunar New Year holiday, reports CNA.
Kinmen Bridge at night. (CNA photo)
Location of Kinmen Bridge. (CNA image)