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Suhua highway project celebrates tunnel breakthrough

2018/05/25 18:31:16

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) A breakthrough ceremony for the 4.7-kilometer Zhongren tunnel, one of the major sections of the Suhua Highway improvement project that cuts through the rugged mountains along Taiwan's east coast, was held Friday.

The tunnel, which stretches from Hezhong to Heren in Hualien County, saw the breakthrough of its southbound lane after 1,067 days of excavation, according to Shau How-jei (邵厚潔), director of the Suhua Improvement Engineering Office.

The breakthrough of the northbound lane was achieved May 6, according to Shau.

The construction progress is four to five months ahead of schedule, he went on, adding that he hopes the full length of the new Suhua Highway can hopefully be opened to traffic by Jan. 25, 2020.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Ho Chen Tan (賀陳旦), who also attended the celebration, praised the workers on the Zhongren tunnel, who faced various geological challenges during the construction process.

The Zhongren tunnel is part of an ongoing improvement project that involves the construction of tunnels and bridges connecting Yilan County and Hualien County.

Initial construction of the NT$49.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) project began in 2011.

The tunnel passes through Feitianpanshan at an elevation of 1,400 meters.

The first section of the improvement project for the Suhua Highway, a 9.7-km stretch from Su'ao to Dong'ao in Yilan County, was completed and opened to traffic Feb. 5.

(By Lee Shien-feng and Ko Lin)