The Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) yesterday said it would increase the number of hours for traffic in the summer as well as in the winter on the Central Cross-Island Highway (Highway No. 8), adding that non-residents would still be barred from traveling on the highway.
Built by military veterans, the 190km roadway connecting Greater Taichung and Hualien County was opened in 1960. It was severely damaged by the 921 Earthquake in 1999. Though the government spent NT$2 billion (US$67 million) repairing the highway following requests from local residents, nearly all the renovation work was destroyed in floods caused by Typhoon Mindulle in 2004.
The DGH eventually decided to suspend reconstruction efforts on the highway.
At present, both local residents and non-residents must bypass the road section between Guguan (谷關) and Deji (德基) in Greater Taichung to access Highway No. 8.
Director-General of Highways Wu Meng-fen (吳盟分) said the DGH had invested NT$400 million in building seven new tunnels on the route since 2010, adding that construction is scheduled to be completed next month.
“We opened the highway for traffic at 7am as well as at 5pm daily starting in November last year,” Wu said. “We estimate that we can have more hours for traffic in May as well as in the summer and winter.”
Wu said there would be seven periods in the summer and five periods in the winter when the highway would be open, adding that it would still be closed at night.
Wu emphasized that the highway was open only to local residents.
Meanwhile, the DGH has published a book on the history of the Central Cross-Island Highway.
According to the DGH, more than 19,000 workers and engineers were involved in its construction.
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