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Dayuling-Taroko road still closed following earthquake

04/04/2024 09:20 PM
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Landslides block a road in Xiulin Township, Hualien County Thrusday. CNA photo April 4, 2024
Landslides block a road in Xiulin Township, Hualien County Thrusday. CNA photo April 4, 2024

Taipei, April 4 (CNA) The section of Provincial Highway No. 8 between Dayuling and Taroko remains closed following earthquake damage, while the Su'ao-Heping section on the Suhua Highway is being conditionally reopened to motorists after repairs, the Highway Bureau said Thursday.

Access to the Suhua Highway between Su'ao in Yilan and Heping in Hualien is currently only open to residents in Dong'ao and Nan'ao townships, members of the press and relief workers, the bureau's Eastern Region Branch Office said in a news release.

The Provincial Highway No. 9D's northbound lane, which also connects Heping to Su'ao, is now open to traffic, while its southbound lane is conditionally open to Heping residents and those living in Hualien and Su'ao, the office added.

The announcement comes after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck off Hualien County Wednesday, leaving many highways in eastern Taiwan damaged and traffic on them paralyzed.

The road outside the northern end of the Daqingshui Tunnel collapses on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor April 3, 2024
The road outside the northern end of the Daqingshui Tunnel collapses on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor April 3, 2024

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, the office said six of the seven damaged areas on the No. 9 highway have been repaired.

Currently, only the Daqingshui Tunnel remains closed to motorists as rockslides have left a huge gap in the road.

The gap measures roughly 25 meters long and 20 meters deep, the office said.

It indicated the plan will be to quickly restore the damaged road to allow small vehicles to pass through by 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The next phase will be to allow the passage of trucks before the end of May, it said.

Highway Bureau Director-General Chen Wen-rui (陳文瑞), meanwhile, said it is hoped the road will be fully restored by the end of the year.

An emergency ferry service was arranged on Thursday morning to take cars traveling from Su'ao to Hualien City, and vice versa later in the afternoon, Chen added.

Concerning the Provincial Highway No. 8, the office said there are currently still five damaged sections under repair, including the roads near the Tunnel of Nine Turns and the Tianxiang Tunnel.

According to the bureau, restoration of the two damaged sections is expected to be completed between Thursday night and Friday afternoon.

In related news, the Ministry of Education said some 434 schools across Taiwan have reported sustaining damage as a result of Wednesday's earthquake.

The loss is estimated to exceed NT$470 million (US$14.66 million), the ministry said.

(By Wang Shu-fen, Chang Chi, Lin Chiao-lien and Ko Lin)

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The entrance of an elementary school in Hualien County is cordoned off on Thursday because of falling tiles caused by earthquakes. CNA photo April 4, 2024
The entrance of an elementary school in Hualien County is cordoned off on Thursday because of falling tiles caused by earthquakes. CNA photo April 4, 2024
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