Suhua High­way im­prove­ment com­ple­tion de­layed un­til 2019

The China Post - - LOCAL -

The gov­ern­ment con­firmed yesterday that the im­prove­ment pro­ject for Suhua High­way ( ) would be de­layed un­til 2019.

The pro­ject to widen the high­way, orig­i­nally slated for com­ple­tion in 2017, has been be­set by a se­ries of de­lays in­clud­ing land­slides and arche­o­log­i­cal dis­cov­er­ies. More re­cently, land­slides trig­gered by Typhoon Du­juan im­peded the long an­tic­i­pated road im­prove­ment pro­ject.

Di­rec­torate Gen­eral of Highways Chao Hsin-hua ( ) con­firmed the de­lay at the Leg­isla­tive Yuan, say­ing that the re­lo­ca­tion of arche­o­log­i­cal relics at Han­ben con­tin­ued to cause de­lays and would push back the launch date of the 20-kilo­me­ter sec­tion from Nanao to Heping.

Another 9.1-kilo­me­ter stretch from Hezhong to Daqing­shui would also be de­layed for var­i­ous rea­sons.

Chao stated that a 9.7-kilo­me­ter stretch of the im­prove­ment pro­ject from Suao to Don­gao, orig­i­nally slated for com­ple­tion in March or April 2017, would be com­pleted as sched­uled.

In July, arche­ol­o­gists dis­cov­ered sev­eral in­tact dwellings as well as hu­man re­mains dat­ing back 2,000 years cov­er­ing 300 me­ters of the pro­ject.

County Mag­is­trate De­mands Tax Cuts

An­gered by news of the de­lay, Hualien County Mag­is­trate Fu Kunchi ( ) de­manded tax cuts from the cen­tral gov­ern­ment due to “ad­min­is­tra­tive in­ef­fi­ciency” on the road im­prove­ment pro­ject. Fu said that the county com­mis­sioned a re­port from a Euro­pean agency in 2011 that con­cluded that the pro­ject could be com­pleted by 2014. He said that the de­layed con­struc­tion has been mak­ing life in­con­ve­nient for lo­cal res­i­dents, and that the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s prob­lems in con­struc­tion and su­per­vi­sion of the pro­ject were cul­prits that have ham­per­ing the pro­ject.

Fu added that the Ex­ec­u­tive Yuan should con­sider tax cuts for both Hualien and Taitung coun­ties, and pro­vide spe­cific sub­si­dies for the avi­a­tion and marine trans­port sec­tors in or­der to com­pen­sate for fi­nan­cial losses in­curred by the de­lay in the high­way’s com­ple­tion.

The NT$46.5 bil­lion, 38.8-kilo­me­ter Suhua High­way im­prove­ment pro­ject was started in 2011 af­ter years of plan­ning and has faced crit­i­cism from en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists who ar­gue that the pro­ject would in­crease traf­fic and pol­lu­tion in Tai­wan’s least-pop­u­lated re­gion. Area lo­cals cite the im­prove­ments as be­ing crit­i­cal to road safety since the route is tra­di­tion­ally prone to land­slides due to its po­si­tion­ing along moun­tain cliffs. Sec­tions of the high­way are of­ten sealed off dur­ing typhoons and pe­ri­ods of tor­ren­tial rain.

The im­prove­ment in­cludes sev­eral key bridges and moun­tain tun­nels, in­clud­ing sec­tions from Suao to Don­gao, Nanao to Heping, and Heping to Daqing­shui.

CNA

A woman holds a set of the Taroko Na­tional Park com­mem­o­ra­tive coins in Taipei, yesterday. The Cen­tral Bank has com­mis­sioned the Bank of Tai­wan to is­sue 35,000 sets of the com­mem­o­ra­tive coins slated to be sold start­ing Oct. 15.

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