President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said by telephone at a ceremony to mark the start of the Kinmen Bridge construction process yesterday that he hoped the infrastructural link could be completed ahead of schedule.
The structure is scheduled for completion at the end of August, 2016, but Ma said he hoped the bridge — which will connect Kinmen’s main island and the area of Little Kinmen (小金門), also known as Lieyu (烈嶼), to its west — could be finished by the end of his second term on May 20, 2016, so that he can attend its opening ceremony.
Tsai Ching-liang (蔡清良), chairman of Hwa Chi Construction Co, which won the tender for the project with a NT$6.56 billion (US$218.94 million) bid, said his company would do everything possible to finish the job ahead of schedule.
Two ships have already begun drilling and placing foundations in the waterways near the construction site and about 4.8km of the 5.4km-long bridge will be suspended over the water.
Ma, who was speaking from Taipei, said he hoped the bridge could become a new landmark in Kinmen County that could stimulate tourism in the county, which is why the bridge’s function is “30 percent transportation and 70 percent tourism.”
The Kinmen islands, which lie much closer to China than Taiwan, were long the front line of hostilities between the two countries before cross-strait relations thawed.
Ma said that with cross-strait tensions relaxing, it was now time for the county’s economic and tourism development to catch up.