Hotel owners in Hualien County yesterday said that the closure of Suhua Highway has resulted in a cancellation of half of their reservations, dampening their hopes of increased business during the year-end peak season.
A section of Suhua Highway between Suao (蘇澳) and Tongao (東澳) was closed on Saturday after a road collapsed due to heavy rain.
Highway authorities said the road will not be re-opened until the end of the month.
Hotel owners in the county said about 80 percent of their rooms were booked for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but about 50 percent of the reservations have been canceled since the road closure was announced.
They estimated that the highway disruption will cost them NT$135 million (US$4.6 million) in lost business in the last two weeks of this month.
Some hotel employees may have to take unpaid leave because of the business slowdown, the hotel owners said.
In related news, a highway overpass connecting Wugu District (五股) in New Taipei City (新北市) and Yangmei (楊梅) in Taoyuan County was opened to traffic yesterday.
The 12km section of highway has no traffic volume restrictions, but is off limits to trucks and its maximum speed limit is 100km per hour.
The overpass was designed to ease traffic on the northern section of National Freeway No. 1.
The full project is a 40km highway that is scheduled to be opened by the end of next month.