Kinmen Bridge (金門大橋), the nation’s first major sea bridge, officially opened to traffic yesterday after 12 years of construction.
The 5.4km bridge connects Jinning Township’s (金寧) Cihhu (慈湖) on Kinmen County’s main island to Houtou (后頭) on Lesser Kinmen, or Lieyu (烈嶼).
“We have waited for this bridge for 30 years,” Kinmen County Commissioner Yang Cheng-wu (楊鎮浯) said yesterday morning at the opening ceremony hosted by the county government.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications
The bridge has been a dream of Kinmen residents for many generations, and now residents of Lieyu do not need to rely on good weather when in need of emergency medical treatment or daily necessities, Yang said, adding that they can welcome a new era of development.
Kinmen Bridge not only meets the goal of “30 percent traffic and 70 percent tourism,” it is also about the hopes of the past, the realization of a dream and prosperity for the future, he said.
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) attended the ceremony.
Photo: Wu Cheng-ting, Taipei Times
Construction of the bridge was approved in 2010 when he was president, Ma said, adding that builders began work the following year, and it took 12 years to complete.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, he had said that the bridge would be a symbol of gratitude and compensation from the main island of Taiwan to the outlying islands, Ma said.
Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said at the opening that Kinmen Bridge is one of Taiwan’s proudest domestic engineering accomplishments.
He thanked the engineering teams for overcoming all the difficulties to complete the project.
“Kinmen and Lesser Kinmen can hold hands in welcoming a new future,” he said.
Now that the bridge has opened to traffic, residents of Lesser Kinmen do not have to worry about boat trips being canceled due to bad weather, and the trip by vehicle takes 30 minutes less, Shen said.
Residents on both sides of the bridge can now prosper together by sharing water, electricity and daily necessities, he said.
Kinmen Bridge is designed to have a service life of 100 years, and there are systems monitoring its structural integrity, traffic and weather 24 hours a day to ensure the safety of drivers, Shen said.
The bridge is “a highway on the sea,” so people can enjoy a wide, beautiful view of the ocean melting into the sky during the day, while lighting at night makes the bridge a tourist attraction, the Directorate-General of Highways said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Jessica Chen (陳玉珍), who represents the Kinmen constituency, said at the opening that “there will only be one Kinmen from now on.”
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