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June 28, 2017

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Traffic on Suhua Highway to return to normal on Wednesday

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Two-way traffic on the Suhua Highway linking Yilan and Hualien counties in eastern Taiwan will return to normal ahead of schedule at 4 p.m. Wednesday, 24 days after rockfalls closed a section of the road near the 112.6-kilometer mark.

The affected road section will reopen two days earlier than planned because of better-than-expected progress in making the necessary repairs, according to the Directorate General of Highways (DGH).

There is a chance, however, that temporary traffic controls will be imposed for maintenance after Wednesday, the DGH cautioned.

Heavy rain caused rockfalls at the 112.6 km mark on Provincial Highway No. 9 -- known as the Suhua Highway -- in Jiugong, Yilan County on May 28, the second day of the Dragon Boat Festival, causing severe traffic jams between northeastern Taiwan and Hualien.

The highway, which has many stretches cut into the side of mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is highly vulnerable to landslides, mudslides and falling rocks.

A project is underway to bypass some of those vulnerable stretches with long tunnels to provide a faster and safer transportation artery between Yilan and Hualien counties.

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