Tue, May 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Part of improved Suhua Highway opens to buses

NEW ROUTE:Kuo-Kuang bus company is to launch a new service between Suao and Nanao Railway Station, with a one-way trip estimated to take 40 minutes

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday officially opened a section of the road between Suao (蘇澳) and Dongao (東澳) on the improved Suhua Highway (part of Highway No. 9) to large buses.

The stretch of highway has been open for cars since Feb. 5.

As the section has a few long tunnels, the ministry initially banned large buses, trucks and motorcycles from accessing the road.

The ban also helped the ministry secure an approval from the Environmental Impact Assessment Committee.

However, the Yilan County Government and legislators have criticized the ban and called for a quick opening of the section to all types of motor vehicles.

The Directorate-General of Highways said in a statement that the decision to open the section to large buses was made after testing certain facilities and conducting drills in response to various situations.

It secured the final approval from the ministry, the highway authority said.

As a complementary measure, it worked with Kuo-Kuang Motor Transportation Co to launch a new bus service (Bus No. 122) that would operate between Suao and Nanao Railway Station.

The service would also stop at the Dongao Railway Station and the Nanao Township Office, the agency said.

Passengers can ride the bus for free during the first week of operation, it said.

Kuo-Kuang said that Nanao, a remote town in the southern part of Yilan County, had only one bus that is used by students and a small bus for community residents before the launch of the new service.

The estimated travel time from Suao to Nanao Railway Station is about 40 minutes, the company said.

Because of the limited transportation options available to residents, Nanao has seen a serious exodus of workers, Kuo-Kuang chairman Wang Ying-chieh (王應傑) said.

The new bus service offers a safer and faster choice for residents, he said.

The company also plans to offer services between Taipei and Hualien once the Suhua Highway Improvement Project is complete, Wang said.

Apart from the section between Suao and Dongao, the highway authority is working to complete the sections between Nanao and Heping (和平) as well as Hejhong (和中) and Dacingshuei (大清水).

The government could allow large trucks on the Suao-Dongao section after a thorough evaluation, the agency said.

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