Kaohsiung's State Rd. 7 begins second phase of environment assessment
By Annie Yang, Special to the China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The controversial construction of State Road 7 (SR7) in Kaohsiung will reach the second level of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), after most of the committees involved approved the construction yesterday.
August 31, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The SR7 construction produced heated dispute yesterday in the EIA committee of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), with nine voting to continue the road project, three objecting to it, and three abstaining from casting a vote.
The Kaohsiung City Government and the container industry support the construction for its prospect of economic development in Kaohsiung, while critics of the project suspect cronyism could be involved.
The EIA team originally opposed the SR7 construction, saying that it may worsen traffic conditions in Kaohsiung City, and doubting the possibility of solving SR1 Highway congestion.
Currently, Kaohsiung suffers from heavy air pollution, so the SR7 construction has raised public health concerns.
On the other hand, the SR7 construction still requires long-term coordination and mutual communication as it is closely related to the rights of land owners and enterprises in Linhai Industrial Park.
Director-General of National Freeway Bureau Tseng Ta-jen (曾大仁) stressed the importance of the SR7 to the Port of Kaohsiung.
In 30 years, the highway is expected to bear an even greater traffic burden than National Highway 1.
“We will be sorry if we do nothing right now,” said Tseng.
Kaohsiung City Vice Mayor Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) said it is necessary to conduct the SR7 construction, both in terms of urban planning and national competitiveness.
Civil society representative Lin Che-i (林哲毅) said that Kaohsiung's already notorious air pollution could be worsened by the SR7 construction as the project will cut right through the middle of the Feng-shan Hills.
According to research by Chen Wen-shan, professor at National Taiwan University, the SR7 is on the Qishan Fault.