The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has decided to locate the site of a planned high speed rail (HSR) station in Yilan near the county government complex, and work could begin as early as 2025, the agency's head said Sunday.
The ministry began evaluating the possibility of extending the HSR network from Nangang Station in Taipei to Yilan in October 2019, but the ministry, experts, and local politicians and residents could not reach an agreement on where the station should be built.
Four proposals for the station's location were initially made, but Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (???) said Sunday that his agency had decided to go with a fifth proposal to build the station 350 meters south of the Yilan County government complex.
Wang said the plan for the extension will be reviewed by the ministry next year, and an environmental impact assessment and detailed designs will be completed between 2022 and 2024.
Construction on the extension could begin as early as 2025 and would be completed by 2036, Wang said.
The station would be located just under 3 kilometers from the existing Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) station in Yilan City, which could complicate getting connections for trains traveling further south along Taiwan's eastern coast.
Wang said, however, that a new TRA station would be built at the same site as the planned high-speed rail station to make connections easier.
The final location was first raised by the ministry in mid-November after the initial four proposals met resistance, and Wang said previously that it was the one that had achieved the widest consensus.
At a legislative hearing in November, Railway Bureau head Wu Sheng-yuan (???) said the planned extension will stretch 59.3 kilometers and cost NT$188 billion (US$6.7 billion).
In response to the decision, Yilan County Magistrate Lin Zi-miao (???) said in a statement that she was grateful that the central government values transportation in Yilan County and has decided on a site for the high speed rail station.
The extension has been something that Yilan residents have always hoped for, Lin said, adding that she hoped the central government can begin work on the project as soon as possible.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel