Taiwan’s Southern Cross Island Highway reopens soon after 13-calendar year closure

Taiwan’s Southern Cross Island Highway reopens soon after 13-calendar year closure

(CNN) — Taiwan’s Southern Cross-Island Highway has reopened to the public subsequent a 13-year closure.

The alpine freeway, which was well-known with holidaymakers as nicely as locals owing to its route by rural, scenic components of the island, was devastated by a hurricane in 2009. Additional than 90% of the highway was harmed and 22 bridges were being washed absent.

The 154 km (96-mile) extensive highway, which one-way links Tainan Town in southwest Taiwan with Taitung Town on the southeast, cuts by way of Taiwan’s Yushan Countrywide Park — household to the island’s maximum peak, Jade Mountain — and meanders as a result of the imposing Central Mountain Vary.

Along the way, motorists pass river gorges and alpine lakes, as nicely as warm springs, climbing trails and gigantic cypress woods.

The optimum level is Yakou, at 2722 meters (8,930 ft) higher than sea level. The scenic “sea of clouds” there has lengthy been preferred with photographers.

Far more than 5,800 cars entered the highway on the first working day of opening, in accordance to Taiwan’s Directorate Common of Highways, which oversees all roadways on the island.

That is superior information for the customer-deprived island, which has lost out on vacationer profits in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.

When Taiwan has eased entry limits around the past two months and reduce household or hotel quarantine from 10 days to seven days, powerful Could 9, leisure visitors are continue to unable to check out. This has manufactured domestic vacation even more important for community tourism.

The highway reopened to vehicle and motorbike visitors on Could 1, just in time for the busy Labor Working day getaway weekend, when lots of Taiwanese travel domestically.

The highway cuts through some of Taiwan's Central Mountain Range.

The highway cuts by means of some of Taiwan’s Central Mountain Vary.

From the Directorate General of Highways

The reopening has been a prolonged time coming.

Early on, rebuilt sections were wiped away right after typhoons or significant rain, sending engineers again to the drawing board.

Eventually, engineers dredged deep into the rock beds, developed retaining walls from extra than 120 transport containers, put in drainage pipes and improved vegetation on slopes to control landslides and erosion of the road beds.

In addition, sections of the highway are so slender that massive development equipment could not be utilized.

At some of the a lot more harmful alpine sections, design workers frequently experienced to cling from cliffsides with ropes to complete the repairs, such as setting nets, spraying cement and securing beams.

“I guess this is what hanging by a thread implies,” Lin Wen-lung, a construction contractor told local media in April this yr.

Thanks to the challenging problems, tourists need to abide by some principles.

Well-liked Yakou will be shut on every single Tuesday and Thursday, and motorists are needed to enter the segment between 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on all other times so as to decrease the effects on nocturnal animals there.

In addition, only motor vehicles beneath 5 metric tons in weight, passenger vehicles with up to 9 individuals and motorcycles are authorized accessibility there.