The Directorate-General of Highways is scheduled to hold a preliminary drill on Suhua Highway for its employees sometime next month at the earliest, directorate chief engineer Chen Ching-fa (陳進發) said.
“Along with other disaster-prevention agencies, we plan to jointly launch a drill on the Suhua Highway either next month or in April,” Chen said.
Chen said the directorate chose Suhua Highway for the drill because it is the most challenging stretch of highway in the nation and a large-scale drill would expose the limitations of coordinated efforts and how the public would respond to the actions taken by government agencies.
Considering the natural disasters brought by Typhoon Megi last year, which killed 38 tourists on the highway, Chen said that the directorate was also working with the Tourism Bureau to see if licensed tour guides should be included in efforts to help prevent casualties.
Chen said the drill would need to be approved by the road traffic safety committees of Yilan County and Hualien County before it could be carried out.
DGH Director-General Wu Meng-fen (吳盟分) said the scale of the drill was similar to that of the annual Wanan military drill (萬安演習). The directorate will make an official announcement about the drill at least 15 days before the scheduled date, Wu said.