The Directorate-General of Highways said yesterday that a new bridge to Pingtung County’s Kudrengere Village (谷川部落) in Wutai Township (霧台) is scheduled to open on Saturday, adding that it had set up a plaque in honor of rescuers who lost their lives in the area as a result of Typhoon Morakot in 2009.
The majority of the village’s residents are Rukai, one of the nation’s 14 recognized Aboriginal tribes.
Typhoon Morakot devastated the village and destroyed the only bridge connecting the village with the rest of the country.
To prevent the village from becoming isolated, the directorate first constructed a temporary bridge and roads before building the new, permanent bridge.
According to the directorate, construction of the new bridge began in September in 2010 and was completed last month.
The bridge has just one pier in the river, which is 99m high, making it the nation’s highest bridge pier.
The directorate also incorporated totems representing the Rukai people in the bridge design, such as lilies, sharp-nosed vipers, pottery jars and eagle feathers.
A plaque has been added to the bridge to explain how the bridge was built and to commemorate the rescuers killed in the wake of Typhoon Morakot.
The directorate said that the new Kudrengere Bridge (谷川大橋) is built across the northern part of the Ailiao River (隘寮溪).
During the construction, workers had to overcome several challenges, such as torrential rain, strong currents and erosion.
Because the bridge is high, the directorate said that the workers also had to endure strong winds.
Despite these conditions, there were no work-related casualties or injuries during the construction, it added.
Aside from being an important part of the village’s infrastructure, the directorate said the bridge will soon become part of an important cultural landmark for the neighboring Sandimen (三地門) and Wutai townships, adding that the Wutai Township Office has built an mural near the entrance to the village, and the Tourism Bureau plans to turn a room built under the bridge into a tourist attraction.
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