Tue, Mar 29, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Suhua Highway improvement to be finished by 2019

Staff writer, with CNA

A NT$49.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) government project to improve the Suhua Highway (Highway No. 9) along the nation’s east coast is expected to be completed by 2019, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said.

The project, aimed at improving road safety and reducing driving times between Yilan County’s Suao (蘇澳) and Hualien County, is divided into three sections: Suao to Dongao (東澳); Nanao (南澳) to Heping (和平); and Hejhong (和中) to Hualien’s Dacingshuei (大清水), according to a statement presented to the legislature about the status of transportation projects in eastern Taiwan

The highway is the main road connecting southern Yilan to Hualien, and its winding, narrow roads overlooking the Pacific Ocean are the scene of frequent accidents and are vulnerable to landslides.

Calls for improvement gained urgency in 2010 after torrential rains from Typhoon Megi triggered lethal landslides that killed 26 people traveling on the road.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Railways Administration has purchased 136 Puyuma express trains since 2001 to increase passenger capacity along the eastern railway line and plans to purchase 600 intercity passenger cars over the next decade to boost railway capacity, according to the statement.

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