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Provincial Highway 8 section closed due to rockfalls after quakes

04/23/2024 12:04 PM
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Photo courtesy of Eastern Region Branch Office, Highway Bureau April 23, 2024
Photo courtesy of Eastern Region Branch Office, Highway Bureau April 23, 2024

Hualien, Taiwan, April 23 (CNA) The section of Provincial Highway 8 connecting Taroko to Tianxiang was temporarily closed to traffic at 8 a.m. Tuesday due to rockslides triggered by a string of earthquakes that hit Hualien County from Monday evening to Tuesday morning.

The section of road from the 167.7-kilometer mark in Tianxiang to the 184.5-km marker near the entrance to Taroko National Park will be closed all day Tuesday but could reopen Wednesday, depending on the pace of repairs, according to the Highway Bureau's Eastern Region Branch Office.

Parts of the road had already been battered during the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit off the coast of Hualien County on April 3 and triggered landslides in the park area that took the lives of several hikers on Taroko Gorge's well-known trails.

Citing concerns over the extent of the damage in the park, Silks Place Taroko Hotel, one of the main accommodation options in Taroko Gorge, said Monday it will remain closed until June 30 after previously having hoped to reopen on May 1.

April 23: Schools, offices in Hualien County closed Tuesday

Meanwhile, the Heren-Chongde section of the eastern railway line in Hualien's Xiulin Township was reopened at 3 a.m. Tuesday after it had been blocked by mudslides caused by heavy rain Monday afternoon, Taiwan Railway Corp. (TRC) said in a statement.

The TRC's Formosa Express service from Taipei to Hualien remained suspended, however.

People with train tickets that were not used due to the mudslides can apply for a refund within one year, the company said.

A string of earthquakes, including 27 of a magnitude of 5 and above, struck Hualien from 5:08 p.m. Monday to Tuesday morning, according to data on the Central Weather Administration (CWA) website.

The largest among them were magnitude 6.0 and 6.3 quakes that occurred at 2:26 a.m. and 2:32 a.m. on Tuesday, respectively.

Two buildings in downtown Hualien City partially collapsed and tilted following the two powerful temblors.

The CWA said that the spate of earthquakes were aftershocks of the magnitude 7.2 quake.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Evelyn Kao)

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