Thu, May 30, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Save bunker in bridge’s way: group

By Chou Hsiang-yun and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A World War II bunker that is Taiwan’s only three-decked bunker, according to Facebook group Taiwan War History, is pictured in an undated photograph.

Photo provided by Facebook group Taiwan War History

The New Taipei City Government on Tuesday began to evaluate the heritage status of a World War II bunker in Bali District (八里), after advocates urged the municipality to preserve it by stopping the construction of the Tamkang Bridge (淡江大橋).

Wei Yi-an (魏以恩), administrator of the Taiwan War History Facebook group, said a friend told him that construction workers had discovered the bunker, the only three-decked, reinforced artillery position believed to still exist.

The steel-reinforced concrete bunker, which was built in 1944, has underground structures that support a field artillery casemate, which the Republic of China Army took over and used for a time after the war, he said.

The fortification was part of the integrated defensive zone built by the Japanese Imperial Army to defend the Port of Keelung, Wei added.

The bunker was equipped with running water, an unusual luxury by wartime standards, indicating that it was designed to withstand a prolonged battle.

The group was disappointed to learn from a site supervisor that the bunker was slated for demolition, Wei said.

“The city’s progress should not come at the cost of sacrificing our historical heritage,” he said.

The New Taipei City Cultural Affairs Department said that highway officials and academics would inspect the bunker as part of the heritage status review.

The bridge across the Tamsui River (淡水河), construction of which began in March, would save commuters 45 minutes of travel time, the government said.

The bridge gained notoriety following significant delays as the city failed seven times to attract bidders for the project.

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