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Yonghe openings blocked to prevent flooding

The China Post news staff--The New Taipei City Government yesterday managed to have four major openings on the embankment along a riverside express highway in Taipei's Yonghe District blocked with grouting to prevent possible floods.

The four major openings were seen on the embankment spanning from the Zhgongzheng Bridge to the entrance of Baosheng Road in Yonghe District, along a riverside elevated express highway now under construction by the Northern Taiwan Engineering Department of the Construction & Planning Agency under the Ministry of the Interior.

Around one month ago, after winning prior permission from the Water Resources Bureau of the New Taipei City Government, the engineering department took the initiative to tear down the old embankment and worked out four major openings on the new embankment to facilitate the construction of elevated bridge piers.

The bureau didn't become aware of the undesirable situation until receiving complaints from nearby residents on Tuesday that Tropical Storm Talim may cause floods through the four openings, and asked the engineering department to close the openings in time. Each opening is 9 meters high and 1 meter wide.

The department rushed to use bags and steel plates to block the openings Tuesday night, but New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu asked the engineering department to step up consolidation by grouting.

Chen Shen-hsien, secretary general of the New Taipei City Government, said it was dangerous for the engineering department to recklessly tear down the old embankment before closing the openings of the new embankment, especially during the typhoon season.

Chen said the undesirable practice would threaten the properties and lives of residents in the area. For example, Chen said, one-third of the entire Sanchong District was hit by floods caused by the Typhoon Aili in late August 2004, mainly as a result of shortcomings seen in the engineering of an MRT line.

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