The Directorate General of Highways (DGH) yesterday announced a plan to install video cameras along the Suhua Highway to help it determine when to close the main east-west artery during the rainy season.
Directorate General of Highways Secretary-General Mile Chen (陳茂南) said the agency would soon propose a new mechanism to help officials decide whether to close the highway and other roads in mountainous areas.
Aside from overall rainfall, the plan would also take into account precipitation levels and live broadcasts at specific locations, Chen said.
“Video cameras will help us make better decisions before we activate the mechanism to close the highways,” he said.
Under existing guidelines, before closing a bridge the DGH monitors changes in river water levels and rainfall upstream, while for feeder highways it mainly looks at rainfall.
However, recent events have prompted a revision of the mechanism, which would be inapplicable in the case of the Suhua Highway, for example, because there are no alternative routes, Chen said.
Two Taiwanese drivers, a Taiwanese tour guide and 20 Chinese tourists were killed in October when torrential rain brought by Typhoon Megi caused landslides on the highway.
The preliminary plan stipulates that video cameras could first be installed at the section between Yilan County’s Dongao (東澳) and Nanao (南澳), one of the most dangerous sections of the Suhua Highway.
While the DGH has yet to decide on the exact number of video cameras to be installed, Chen said several critical factors, including geological conditions, climates and the history of road damage at certain sections on the highway would be taken into consideration.
All the cameras are expected to be installed by May at the latest, he said.
Aside from the Suhua Highway, Chen said the DGH would also install cameras on the South Link Highway and Alishan Highway.