Pedestrian bridge opens

LOCAL ATTRACTION: The bridge links Songshan and Neihu, is designed for pedestrians and shortens the walking time between the two from 30 minutes to 10

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun, Nov 11, 2007 - Page 4

The Rainbow Bridge, a 167m bridge that connects Neihu and Songshan districts was opened yesterday, as the Taipei City Government expected the bridge to facilitate local foot traffic and serve as an attraction as well.

As the only bridge in the city designed specifically for pedestrians, the S-shape structure cost the city government NT$120 million (US$3.6 million) and took two years to construct.

The bridge shortens the walking distance from Neihu's Hsin-ming Road to Songshan Railway Station and nearby Raohe Night Market from 30 minutes to 10 minutes, the city government said.

Attending the launch ceremony yesterday, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and former mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that they expected the bridge to bring more convenience for local residents while improving the city's landscape.

"In addition to shortening the distance, the bridge itself is an attraction, as it looks stunning at night when it's all lit up," Hau said at the opening ceremony on the bridge yesterday.

After crossing the new bridge together, Hau and Ma later also signed a joint statement and vowed to protect the local environment.

To promote the bridge as a local attraction, Chen Yu-hsian (陳毓賢), commissioner of Taipei City's Hydraulic Engineering Office, said it will establish a flower park and coffee stand at the ends of the bridge.

The office will also set up a deck to attract passengers who tour the city by boat on the "Blue Highway" route between Dadaocheng and the Tamshui River to visit the bridge as well.

The "Blue Highway" was a local tourism project launched by the city government in 2004 to promote tourism along the rivers.

The city decorated the bridge and five other bridges, including McArthur Bridge No. 1 and No. 2, Minchuan Bridge, Chengde Bridge and Bailing Bridge, with LED lights to improve the view of Taipei's night cityscape, Chen said.