The government will earmark NT$7.96 billion (US$241 million) to rebuild 121 aging bridges and repair 1,000 others to ensure traffic safety, a Public Construction Commission official said yesterday.
The bridge repair program was passed last year, and is scheduled to be finished within three years, the official said.
Quoting statistics compiled by the commission, the official said there are 26,000 bridges across the nation -- at an average age of 20 years -- but that 952 are more than 40 years old.
The public became more concerned about the safety of the nation's bridges after a bridge over the Mississippi River in Minnesota collapsed on Aug. 1, killing at least four, with 30 missing.
The official said the government began collecting and integrating data and information about the bridges from the Directorate General of Highways, the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau, the Taiwan Railway Administration and local governments in 2001. The material will be used to serve as reference for maintenance and repairs.
The official said the highway and water resource units will meet to coordinate their actions and ensure smooth progress on the repairs.
Authorities at all levels have been asked to carry out regular inspections and record inspection results to ensure better traffic safety.