By: Central News Agency
The government’s NT$49.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) project to improve the Suhua Highway along Taiwan’s rugged east coast is expected to be completed between 2017 and 2019, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is saying.
The ministry gave the projection in written materials prepared for the Legislative Yuan ahead of a hearing on Monday, when Transportation Minister Chen Jian-yu is expected to answer questions about the current status and future development of transportation projects in eastern Taiwan.
The 38.8 km Suhua Highway improvement project, aimed at improving road safety and reducing travel times between Suao in Yilan County and Hualien County, is divided into three sections — Suao to Dongao, Nanao to Heping, and Hezhong to Daqingshui.
The highway is the main artery connecting southern Yilan County to Hualien County, and its winding, narrow roads perched above the Pacific Ocean are the scene of frequent accidents and are especially vulnerable to landslides.
Calls for an upgrade gained urgency in 2010 after torrential rains from Typhoon Megi triggered lethal landslides on the road that killed 26 people. [FULL STORY]