Wed, Feb 14, 2018 - Page 4 News List

High-risk freeway bridges to be reinforced: agency

Staff writer, with CNA

There are 66 high-risk bridges on the nation’s freeways within 300m of an active geological fault line that are to be reinforced by 2021, the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau said on Monday.

Most of the bridges are in central Taiwan: near Miaoli County on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), Taichung on Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) and Nantou County on Freeway No. 6, the bureau said.

The bridges are to be reinforced to be able to endure at least an intensity 6 earthquake, the bureau said, adding that even if an intensity 7 temblor strikes, the bridges might be damaged, but will not collapse.

The construction work started in the second half of last year, with another 1,103 bridges less at risk to undergo similar reinforcement by 2025, with a total budget of NT$33.7 billion (US$1.15 billion), Bureau Deputy Director-General Wu Mu-fu (吳木富) said.

The need for the reinforcement of buildings and public facilities against seismic hazards has received public attention in the wake of the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck Hualien County on Tuesday last week, killing 16 people, with one still listed as missing and presumed dead, 285 injured and causing severe damage to buildings and roads.

A previous overhaul project for bridges across the nation’s freeways started after the magnitude 7.6 921 Earthquake in central Taiwan in 1999, which claimed more than 2,400 lives, Wu said.

A total of 353 bridges on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway and 341 bridges on the Formosa Freeway were reinforced, Wu said, but added that the current project targeting 1,169 bridges was launched based on a report from the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Central Geological Survey, which specified other fault lines that could cause construction risks.

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