Wed, Apr 10, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Town wants road renamed ahead of exercise

By Tang Shih-ming and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The public and media watch F-16s, Mirage 2000 and Indiginous Defense Fighters taking part in the Han Kuang No. 23 exercise in then-Taichung County on May 15, 2007.

Photo: Liao Yao-tung, Taipei Times

Changhua County’s Sioushuei Township (秀水) wants to rename a stretch of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (National Freeway No. 1) after the Ministry of National Defense said it would be used for an emergency landing and takeoff drill on May 28 during the annual Han Kuang military exercises.

Huatan Reserve Runway (花壇戰備道) is a 2km-long section of the freeway that can be used by military in emergencies, Sioushuei Mayor Lin Ying (林英) said yesterday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ko Cheng-fang (柯呈枋) arranged a meeting with central government officials on behalf of the township to discuss the road’s name and condition, Lin said.

Although the section connects Huatan Township (花壇) in the north of the county with Dacun Township (大村) in the south, its entire length lies within Sioushuei, making Huatan Reserve Runway a misnomer, even though it has been used for more than a decade, he said.

That the air force plans to launch fighter jets from the roadway is an exciting development for Sioushuei, as it would draw aviation enthusiasts to the area, but the township office would like the runway to be named correctly, Lin said.

A security fence along the west side of the road is damaged and cannot be relied upon to keep people or wildlife off the road during the drill, and should be repaired as soon as possible, he added.

In addition, two roads that pass under an elevated section are in rough shape and need to be repaved before the town could properly host aviation enthusiasts, Lin said.

The military has five reserve runways, four on Freeway No. 1 and one on Provincial Highway No. 1.

The last time the Huatan Reserve Runway was used during the Han Kuang exercises was in 2007.

In other news, the military yesterday said that two arms contracts announced by the US Department of Defense concerning Taiwan are not new deals, just follow-ups.

The Pentagon on Thursday last week said that Raytheon had been awarded a US$9 million contract to maintain Taiwan’s Patriot missile system, just days after it was awarded a US$50 million contract as part of a radar restoration program for the Republic of China Navy on March 26.

The air force said that the US$9 million deal was a follow-up to an existing Patriot deal that allowed Raytheon to open a Taipei office to run the project.

It was simply a budget allocation for administrative purposes, the air force added.

The navy said that the US$50 million contract is for maintenance on radar systems installed on its vessels and would be used for “overhauls, coatings, shipboard installations and removals, and incidental technical support services.”

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