Taipei-President Tsai Ing-wen (???) said Friday, during an inspection of a project to improve the Suhua Highway, that she was confident it would be completed on schedule by Jan. 5, 2020.
Residents in the eastern part of the country will be able to use the newly renovated highway before the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on Jan. 24 next year, Tsai said.
Her inspection tour of the NT$52.88 billion (US$1.7 billion) Suhua Highway project was her third since it began in 2011.
The 38.8-km project covers three sections along Taiwan's rugged east coast -- from Su'ao to Dong'ao in Yilan County, from Nan'ao in Yilan to Heping in Hualien County, and from Hezhong to Daqingshui in Hualien.
The first stretch was completed and opened on Feb. 5 last year, while the other two sections are about 92.85 percent complete, according to Shau How-jei (???), director of the Suhua Improvement Engineering Office.
The two segments comprise 29.1 kilometers of road, 20.7 km of which run through five tunnels, he said during Tsai's inspection of the project's Renshui Tunnel.
The Directorate General of Highways (DGH) is carrying out its final tests on the project, in particular the electricity and engineering systems, to ensure that the tunnels are safe, Shau said.
The highway, the main artery connecting Yilan and Hualien counties, was a narrow, winding, accident-prone road high above the Pacific Ocean and was also vulnerable to landslides.
The need for an upgrade gained urgency in 2010 after Typhoon Megi triggered lethal landslides on the road, killing 26 people.
The newly renovated highway is expected to improve road safety, reduce travel time, and boost tourism in Yilan and Hualien counties, according to the DGH.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel