First sec­tion of new Guanyin Tun­nel be­gins con­struc­tion

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY ANITA YANG

The first sec­tion of the Suhua High­way Im­prove­ment Pro­ject’s Guanyin Tun­nel ( ) was blasted open yesterday morn­ing and rep­re­sents a key mo­ment for the lengthy con­struc­tion pro­ject.

The en­tire dis­tance of the Suhua High­way Im­prove­ment Pro­ject is 38.4 kilo­me­ters and it in­cludes eight tun­nels that add up to 24.5 kilo­me­ters. Out of all of the tun­nels, the long­est and most crit­i­cal con­struc­tion seg­ment is the 7.9-kilo­me­ter Guanyin Tun­nel.

Ac­cord­ing to Suhua Im­prove­ment En­gi­neer­ing Of­fice Di­rec­tor Shau How-jei ( ), Guanyin Tun­nel will con­nect Gufeng Tun­nel ( ) to the 55-me­ter-long Guyin Bridge ( ), form­ing a com­bined tun­nel of 12.7 kilo­me­ters — the sec­ond-long­est in Tai­wan af­ter the 12.9-kilo­me­ter Hsuehshan Tun­nel ( ).

Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Chen Chien-yu ( ) hosted a blast­ing cer­e­mony yesterday morn­ing for the first of three sec­tions of Guanyin Tun­nel. The cer­e­mony rep­re­sents one step to­ward com­plet­ing the pro­ject.

He said that the three sec­tions of the tun­nel are de­signed to move traf­fic in the south­ern di­rec­tion. Af­ter the start of first part yesterday, the whole tun­nel is ex­pected to be­come op­er­a­tional by the end of June next year. Cur­rently, three con­struc­tion sec­tions of the pro­ject have al­ready been blasted open in the north­ern di­rec­tion, with the fourth sched­uled to be opened in Oc­to­ber, said Chen. He also stressed his con­fi­dence in com­plet­ing the pro­ject on time.

Di­rec­torate Gen­eral of Highways Chao Hsin-hua ( ) said that the Suhua High­way Im­prove­ment Pro­ject will com­plete its con­struc­tion and start oper­a­tions in sev­eral stages, with speed lim­its set at 60 kilo­me­ters per hour.

The first phase, from Suao to Don­gao ( ) in eastern Yi­lan, is es­ti­mated to be com­pleted in the be­gin­ning of 2017 with oper­a­tions be­gin­ning in the first half of that year. The sec­ond and third phases, which run from Nanao ( ) to Heping ( ) and Hechung ( ) to Qing­shui ( ) are ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of 2017 and opened by the first half of 2018.

Both com­pact cars and larger ve­hi­cles are cur­rently able to travel on the ex­ist­ing Suhua High­way, though speed lim­its for larger ve­hi­cles have been low­ered due to in­creased risk of ac­ci­dents on the wind­ing roads. Af­ter the new pro­ject is com­pleted, larger ve­hi­cles will be guided to the im­proved sec­tions, but will need to pass weight and over­heat­ing in­spec­tions be­fore en­ter­ing the tun­nel.

In con­sid­er­a­tion of the 20 to 30 min­utes it would take for fire trucks to ar­rive on the scene of a fire in the tun­nel, Guanyin tun­nel will be equipped with au­to­matic sprin­kler sys­tems with a sprin­klers po­si­tioned ev­ery 50 me­ters. The sys­tem will be able to sus­tain a wa­ter sprin­kling time of 40 min­utes, said the Suhua Im­prove­ment En­gi­neer­ing Of­fice.

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