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Recovery will take at least 3.5 months: Kaohsiung mayor

KAOHSIUNG--Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said yesterday that restoration of neighborhoods damaged in the gas explosions last week will take at least three and a half months.

The restoration of the six kilometers-worth of roads destroyed by the gas explosions in Kaohsiung this past week will begin Monday, according to a city official on Sunday.

Chao Chien-chiao, the chief of the city's Maintenance Office, said his department will begin resurfacing Sanduo Road, the thoroughfare at the center of Thursday night's explosions which killed 28 and injured at least 300, according to government figures.

The city's New Construction Office will work on Yisin Road and the Water Resources Bureau will be responsible for Kaisyuan Road. Those badly damaged streets were in the roughly three-km perimeter of the blasts.

In addition to repaving the roads with asphalt, the restoration will also fix the damaged sidewalks, and replant trees along the roads which will cost about NT$600 million (US$19.98 million).

He said Thursday's explosions, caused by a propene leak from the underground pipelines running underneath the middle of those roads, had torn up the asphalt pavement along about 6 km of street.

Li Hsien-yi, the chief of the Water Resources Bureau, said the restoration of the rain water drainage system under the road will take three months and cost another NT$600 million.

The city government is seeking financial aid from the central government for the extensive repair work, he said.

In the meantime, the lack of a drainage system means the affected roads could turn into water-filled ditches during downpours, he warned.

Fortunately, the sewage system, which rests 10 meters underground, remained intact following the blasts, he said.

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