The Suhua Highway Improvement Project should be completed by 2017 and it is unlikely that workers will finish ahead of schedule, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said yesterday.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Kuo Tsai Wen (郭蔡文) said there was no chance the project would be completed within three years.
In late March, Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) had said he hoped the project could be completed within three years.
Kuo Tsai said the Environmental Impact Assessment Committee, which gave conditional approval to the project last year, said that trucks carrying construction waste must not use the Suhua Highway.
“You have mountains on one side and sea on the other, and there are hardly any places that are wide enough to transport construction waste — it is a challenge already,” Kuo Tsai said. “All the working areas on the highway must be bored from the old North Link Tunnel (舊北迴隧道). One cannot expect work on such a difficult task to be fast.”
Kuo Tsai said all complicated construction work would take at least six years to complete.
He made the remarks at an international forum on life-cycle maintenance and management technologies for smart highway systems, hosted by the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH).
Highway researchers from the US, the UK, France, Switzerland and Hong Kong were invited to share their thoughts and experiences at the forum.
Public Construction Commission Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) told the forum that the nation placed more importance on the management of highways than on the technologies used to build them.
Lee said extreme weather was becoming more frequent and that Taiwan continued to build highways for the convenience of motorists.
The highways, he said, must be built at locations with the right “genes.”
“If you build a highway at a place with bad DNA, you put users in danger,” he said. “No matter how well you try to maintain it, the effect is limited.”
While lauding the DGH for trying to apply the concept of life-cycle management to maintain highways, Lee said it needed to calculate the time and funding needed for such maintenance.