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Hsuehshan Tunnel safety to be improved

2012/05/10 16:10:03

Taipei, May 10 (CNA) Infrastructure improvements in the Hsuehshan Tunnel will be completed within two weeks to address safety concerns raised after a fatal traffic accident in the tunnel earlier in the week, Transport Minister Mao Chi-kuo said Thursday.

Mao said the tunnel's smoke exhaust system will be repaired.

The system failed to function properly in Monday's accident that left two people dead and more than 30 others injured -- the worst since the tunnel opened in June 2006.

The tunnel, which connects the greater Taipei area with Yilan County in northeastern Taiwan, is 12.9 km long and the fifth-longest road tunnel in the world.

Questions were raised over the adequacy of the tunnel's safety measures, as thick smoke was able to get into the escape shafts because the access doors did not close automatically.

"We will make sure that the emergency doors close automatically under all circumstances," Mao said during an inspection tour of the tunnel, accompanied by local lawmakers.

In addition, he said that related traffic management, including speed limits and permitted distance between cars, will be examined.

Passenger bus operators will also be required to train staff in emergency procedures concerning tunnel travel, Mao said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
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