Thu, Mar 13, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taroko Gorge road ‘high risk’: Web site

Staff writer, with CNA

The highway that goes through Taroko Gorge in eastern Taiwan was recently named one of the world’s most dangerous roads by a UK-based Web site.

The Web site, DrivingExperiences.com, said that although Taroko means “magnificent and splendid” in the Aboriginal Truku language, the road that runs through the gorge is deadly for drivers because of blind corners, narrow sections and huge drops alongside it.

“There are pedestrians, scooters, cars and massive tour buses all vying for the tight space,” the Web site said.

The Taroko Gorge Road, a section of Provisional Highway No. 8, runs through Hualien and into the mountains of central Taiwan.

On an interactive map, DrivingExperiences.com rated the Taroko Highway as a “high risk” on its list of 22 dangerous roads around the world.

Heavy rain from typhoons often dislodges soil and rocks, which make sections of the highway impassable, the Web site said.

“The area is prone to seismic activity, which can have disastrous effect on the highway,” it added, giving the Taroko Gorge Road a seven out of 10 rating in terms of “overall road fear factor.”

Directorate-General of Highways official Lin Wen-hsiung (林文雄) said yesterday that the government has allocated NT$1 billion (US$32.94 million) this year to improve the safety of the Taroko highway.

Work has been done to stabilize the embankment at more than 20 places along the road over the past two years, Lin said.

DrivingExperiences.com said its interactive map was created based on the WHO’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, as well as media reports, blogs and other online sources.

According to the Web site, the world’s most dangerous highway is the North Yungas road in Bolivia, in light of the hundreds of deaths “caused by vehicles plunging off the road while trying risky overtaking maneuvers” every year.

The Bolivian highway received 10 out of 10 on the Web site’s “fear factor” rating.

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