Central Cross-Island Highway
|Central Cross-Island Highway (中部橫貫公路)|
|Maintained by Directorate General of Highways|
|Length||189.8 km (117.9 mi)|
|West end||Prov 3 in Dongshi, Taichung|
|East end||Prov 9 in Xincheng, Hualien|
|Highway system in Taiwan
The construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway began on July 7, 1956 and was first opened to traffic on May 9, 1960.
The route of the highway begins in the west at Dongshi District in Taichung. The highway originally continued up into the Central Mountain Range following the Dajia River valley through the townships of Guguan (谷關) and Cingshan (青山). However, the section between Guguan and Lishan is permanently closed to non-residents due to earthquake and typhoon damage. At Lishan there is a branch that heads north to Yilan City. Passing through the mountains it reaches Dayuling (大禹嶺) which is the highest point of the route. Here another branch of the highway runs south from Dayuling to Puli via Wuling (武嶺). Continuing east from Dayuling the highway route now begins its descent into the Taroko National Park. It passes through Guanyuan (關原), Cih-en (慈恩), Luoshao (洛韶) and Tianhsiang before entering Taroko Gorge. After the gorge the route then connects with the eastern coastal Su'ao-Hualien Highway.
Highway damage and closure
The highway route runs through exceedingly rugged and unstable terrain. Heavy rain from typhoons often dislodge soil and rocks onto the highway making sections of it impassable. As well, the area is prone to seismic activity which can have disastrous effects on the highway. On September 21, 1999 the Jiji earthquake caused massive damage to the highway and cut the highway in multiple places between Guguan and Lishan.
Following the unprecedented damage to the highway in 1999, there was strong debate on the feasibility and desirability of maintaining and repairing the highway. Extensive and costly repairs proceeded, and earthquake-damaged sections of the highway were due to be re-opened in 2004. However, torrential rains from Typhoon Mindulle caused further damage to the highway, forcing the affected section between Guguan and Lishan to be closed to non-residents indefinitely. While Provincial Highway 8 no longer provides a continuous route across the island, travelers from the west can use Provincial Highway 14 and Provincial Highway 14A to connect with Provincial Highway 8 in the east.
On November 16, 2018, the section between Guguan and Lishan re-opened to limited traffic. 3 medium-sized busses are scheduled to run the route (back and forth) each day but no ordinary private vehicle traffic is allowed.
Bicycling uphill at Taroko Gorge
- Shan, Shelley (March 9, 2012). "Central Cross-Island Highway travel hours to increase". Taipei Times. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
- RTI English. "Road closed by 921 quake reopens after 19 years". YouTube. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Central Cross-Island Highway.|
- Search Taipei Times newspaper archives for references to the highway