Two highway projects to be completed before Lunar New Year: premier

Taipei-Two highway construction projects are to be completed before the coming Lunar New Year holiday, while feasibility assessments on other highway projects, including a section in Yilan County, are under way, Premier Su Tseng-chang (???) said Thursday.

A road-widening project on the South Link Highway, which is part of Provincial Highway No. 9, is set to open for traffic in December, while an improvement project on the Suhua Highway, also on Provincial Highway No. 9 along Taiwan's rugged east coast, is expected to be fully opened in January, Su said after being briefed at a Cabinet meeting.

Work on the two projects took nine years because both roads are mountainous and twisty, making dangerous working conditions, Su added.

The 77-kilometer Suhua Highway improvement project covers three sections -- from Su'ao to Dong'ao in Yilan County, from Nan'ao in Yilan to Heping in Hualien County and from Hezhong to Daqingshui in Hualien County -- the first stretch of which opened Feb. 5 last year, while the other two sections are set to open Jan. 5, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC).

The 36.1-km South Link Highway expansion project also covers three sections -- Xianglan to Jinlun, Jinlun to Daniao in Taitung County, and from Anshuo in Taitung County to Caopu in Pingtung County -- the first two sections of which already opened earlier this year, while the last segment is set to open Dec. 20.

Construction on the Suhua Highway improvement project, which cost NT$55.17 billion (US$1.84 billion), was originally set from 2011 to 2020, while construction on the South Link Highway project, which cost NT$22.75 billion, started in 2011 and was also originally expected to be completed in 2020, according to the MOTC.

Su also said that the nationwide rail system is scheduled to be entirely electrified from Dec. 23, when the last link of the network -- the South Link Railway electrification project under the Taiwan Railways Administration -- is set to be completed.

The South Link Line, which connects Pingtung and Taitung counties, is the only one in the country that has yet to be completely electrified.

Meanwhile, the MOTC is conducting feasibility assessments on the Dong'ao-Nan'ao Highway section of the Suhua Highway, which is not included in the improvement project, and a section of National Freeway No. 5, which connects Taipei and Yilan and links to the Suhua Highway, according to Su.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel