History will be made tomorrow, when Taiwan's first escalator-footbridge begins operating.
"This is the first of its kind in the nation," said Juang Wu-sheong (莊武雄), director of the division of new construction projects under the Bureau of Public Works. "And we hope that it is well-received by the public when it enters service tomorrow."
Situated in front of the Taipei Sungshang High School at the intersection of Keelung Road and Sunglung Road, the footbridge has glass-roofed escalators.
Juang stated the main reasons behind building escalators into the footbridge.
"Other than a concern over the heavy traffic flow in this area, the main reason we have installed the escalators is this footbridge's exceptional height," Juang said.
According to Juang, the Keelung Road and Sunglung Road footbridge is 8.4m high, whereas whereas the average footbridge is 4.6m.
"In other words, without the installment of escalators, pedestrians would have to climb roughly three stories on this footbridge."
Juang also said that the footbridge has been built with safety in mind.
"Measures such as anti-slipping devices, automatic step-censors and surveillance cameras along the escalators are designed to ensure safety and ease of use," he said.
Unfortunately, the footbridge will not be "disabled friendly."
"Due to the limited space," he said, "we weren't able to include elevators."
"However, with a similar footbridge now being built will definitely be disabled friendly, as elevators are to be constructed on both sides of the edifice."
Construction having begun earlier last month. Juang said that the second escalator-footbridge, located at the intersection of Chunghua Road and Kaifong Street, should be up and running by end of this year, "if all goes according to schedule."
"One concern we have over escalator-footbridges is their vulnerability to vandals. Acts such as breaking the escalator's glass roof or sticking chewing gum on the escalator bars would be very costly and unpleasant for pedestrians," Juang said.
He added that the city government hoped that the public would take good care of the new footbridges so that everyone would be able to enjoy the convenience they bring.