The Alishan area could enjoy a tourism boost after the Fugue Bridge on the Alishan Highway opens to traffic today.
The Directorate General of Highways said that it had proposed the construction of the bridge after heavy rain brought by Typhoon Morakot devastated the Alishan Highway in August 2009, causing mud slides and damage to the road in several sections of the highway.
The damage dealt a blow to Alishan’s tourism industry as it disrupted traffic to one of the nation’s most popular tourist attractions.
The highway authority proposed building a single-arch bridge after the section of the 71km milepost was deemed irreparable after the slope next to the road slid into the valley.
The construction of the bridge started in May 2010, the directorate said.
The construction was challenging as the crew had to build a makeshift passage over a steep valley, it said.
It added that construction workers needed to constantly monitor the slopes on either side of the road to ensure that the construction could proceed safely.
The construction was especially risky given the unpredictable weather in the mountainous area.
Prior to the official opening today, the bridge withstood heavy rain and wind from last year’s typhoons Talim, Soala and Tembin.
The directorate said the construction cost of the red single-span steel arch bridge was estimated at more than NT$280 million (US$9.68 million).
Painted red, the bridge was named after a Tsou tribal expression, which means “hills and fields of Taiwanese hibiscus trees.”
The presence of such a tree is said to bring good fortune.