Motorists are to have a three-month grace period for traffic infractions while driving on the improved sections of the Suhua Highway, the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) said yesterday.
As all three sections are to be open for traffic next month, motorists would need some time to adapt to driving on them, DGH Deputy Director-General Hsu Cheng-chang (許鉦漳) said.
In April, normal enforcement would resume and the police would start cracking down on speeding inside the tunnel at Yilan County’s end of the highway, Hsu said, adding that the speed limit inside the tunnel is 60kph.
Photo courtesy of the Directorate-General of Highways
The police also plan to use technology to catch drivers who change lanes while in the tunnels or fail to maintain a safe following distance, as well as motorcyclists that attempt to use tunnels other than the Renshui Tunnel (仁水隧道), which has a motorcycle lane.
The Suhua Highway would be shortened from 79.2km to 60.55km after the improvement project is complete, which would reduce the travel time from 3.5 hours to 2.5 hours, the highway authority said.
In the initial stage of operations, the sections would be limited to small and large passenger vehicles, Hsu said, adding that after three to six months of use, the agency would evaluate if it would allow access for large cargo vehicles.
The Suhua Highway Improvement Project was launched in 2011 to enhance safety through new routes between Suao (蘇澳) and Dongao (東澳) townships in Yilan; Nanao Township (南澳) in Yilan and Heping Township (和平) in Hualien County; and Hejhong (和中) and Dacingshuei (大清水) in Hualien.
The sections from Nanao to Heping and Hejhong to Dacingshuei are to open for traffic on Jan. 6, while the Suao to Dongao section has been accessible since Feb. 7 last year, the DGH said, adding that the construction cost was NT$55.1 billion (US$1.82 billion).
To facilitate the new routes, the highway authority has constructed eight tunnels, a new bridge and a new road.
Among them, Guangyin (觀音隧道) and Gufong (谷風隧道) tunnels in the Nanao to Heping section are connected by the semi-sealed Guying Bridge (谷音橋), which is about 12.6km long, making it the nation’s second-longest tunnel, behind the Hsuehshan Tunnel (雪山隧道) on the Chiang Wei-Shui Freeway (National Freeway No.5).
DGH statistics showed that 18 traffic accidents have occurred in the Suao to Dongao section since January, and more than 1,400 contraventions of traffic regulations have been reported, many of which were from motorcyclists, the agency said.
The DGH also established a traffic control center in Nanao to monitor the improved sections, Hsu said.
The center would dictate traffic management strategies to be implemented on weekdays, regular weekends and major national holidays, and respond to emergency situations, he said.
The center estimated that the traffic on the Lunar New Year’s Eve on Jan. 24 would increase by 1,000 to 1,200 vehicles.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu