An important milestone in the construction the north-south High Speed Railway was reached yesterday, as the first giant boxgirder was set on its pedestal. The event completed the first phase of construction for the biggest build-operate-transfer project in the world.
"The corporation is proud to present the biggest boxgirder in Asia, which allows for a deviation of within 1cm," chairman and CEO of the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp, Nita Ing (殷琪), said at the girder's launching ceremony.
Also on hand were Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (
Ing said that the firm has successfully coordinated engineers from 16 countries within less than 16 months in order to reach this stage.
She said that she hopes that the project will stand as a proud example of partnership between the government and the private sector.
Chang agreed with Ing, saying that the railway's completion would be a turning point in the country's economic development.
"With its high passenger capacity and speed, the railway will be a transportation hub used to expand government services [to more areas]," Chang told the crowd.
"The government has put top priority on local investments made in areas where the high-speed railway will reach, as well as related infrastructure construction," Chang said.
Citing one of the sites chosen for the yet to-be-built science park in central Taiwan -- Yunlin County's Huwei township, Chang said that the location was chosen because the railway will stop there and that National Taiwan University would establish a branch at that location.
The railway is scheduled to begin service in four years. Upon completion, travel time between Taipei and Kaohsiung will be shortened to 90 minutes.
Meanwhile at yesterday's ceremony, Chang's hoarse voice as he delivered his speech raised concern for his health. Before flying to Taichung, Cabinet officials said that the premier had paid a visit to National Taiwan University Hospital, citing a soar throat. Chang acquired his soar throat stumping for the DPP's legislative candidates at campaign rallies last weekend.
Taichung County Commissioner Liao said that he hoped Chang would tend to his voice, as, according to Liao, the premier was needed on the campaign trail.