Suhua Highway reopens today for light vehicles

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 - Page 3

The Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) yesterday announced that the Suhua Highway would be opened for small passenger vehicles at 1pm today, adding that it would close the highway again for construction after the New Year holidays.

Operations on the highway were disrupted after a section of the road between Suao (蘇澳) and Tongao (東澳) collapsed on Dec. 14 after days of heavy rain.

DGH Deputy Director-General Chao Hsin-hua (趙興華) said the decision to partially reopen the highway was made to facilitate the transport of travelers during the holiday.

The highway will be opened from 1pm today until 12pm on Jan. 2.

Chao said only small passenger vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes or less will be allowed to access the highway, with only one traffic lane open for two-way traffic

Chao added that the goal is to resume two-way traffic on the entire highway before the Lunar New Year holiday begins.

“Our construction crew is racing against time under the restrictions of inclement weather and narrow construction sites,” Chao said. “We felt it necessary to again restrict access to the highway after the New Year holiday, following a careful assessment of possible ways to mobilize our machinery and personnel, and safety issues facing road users.”

Meanwhile, the directorate said that it would regulate traffic heading to Wuling Farm (武陵農場) in Greater Taichung during the cherry blossom season next year.

The season drew thousands of visitors to the farm during the Lunar New Year holiday this year, causing serious traffic congestion.

Chao said that the blossoming season falls between Feb. 10 and March 5 every year.

As next year’s Lunar New Year holiday lasts from Feb. 9 to 17, coinciding with cherry blossom season, Chao said that the farm has decided to cap the amount of visitors at 5,000 per day.

According to Chao, the farm can accommodate 1,800 visitors in its hospitality facilities and 3,200 who come for a one-day trip.

Those planning to take one-day trips to the farm are required to use public transport. Travelers can purchase a tour package — which covers both the entrance fee to the farm and the round-trip bus fare — at the Kuokuang Bus terminal at the Taipei Railway Station, the Taipei City Government Bus Terminal and the Yilan Bus Terminal, as well as the Fengyuan Bus terminal at Lishan (梨山).

The farm said that visitors wanting to spend the night at the farm have to book their rooms in advance and must have a pass to enter the farm. The passes are to be sent to visitors by e-mail three days before their scheduled travel dates.