Taipei’s “Smooth Roads Project,” initiated by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), appears to have not done enough to improve road conditions in the capital, as a female resident in New Taipei City (新北市) has reportedly been paying out of her own pocket to single-handedly refill numerous potholes in the two cities late at night for the past three months.
According to a news report by SET-TV, the woman, surnamed Lee (李), is an office worker who commutes between New Taipei City’s Sanchong District (三重) and Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖).
Lee was said to have embarked on her self-funded road-paving mission after being fed up with the many potholes and uneven paving she faced on her daily commute. To avoid disrupting traffic, Lee opted to do the work in the middle of the night, applying asphalt to every pothole she came across.
Over the course of three months, Lee said she has used 1,200kg of asphalt in her effort to make the two cities’ roads safer.
While expressing gratitude for Lee’s efforts, Taipei City Government spokesperson Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) yesterday said the city government does not encourage residents to follow suit because paving a road requires physical strength and professional expertise, and working alone in the middle of the night could also be dangerous.
“Residents are advised to report potholes in the city using the 1999 hotline, upon which the city government will immediately dispatch staff to address the matter,” Chang said.
Taipei City’s New Construction Office deputy chief Lin Chih-feng (林志峰) said there were many factors that could account for the city’s potholes, such as periodic downpours and the service life of the roads.
“Should people come across any potholes before the city government’s inspectors do, they should call the 1999 hotline and a team of workers will be sent to the reported sites within an hour for restoration,” Lin said.
As for Lee’s endeavors, Lin said she had helped fill a number of potholes on the roads and some holes in the sidewalks in Neihu District.
“However, because the latter still require tile repair, the city government has sent out a team to first remove the asphalt [applied by Lee] and then carry out repairs,” Lin said.