Freeway #5 near completion

I’ve just heard the news yesterday that the longest tunnel on Taipei-Ilan Freeway just went though (12.9 KM) 雪山隧道 , and it’ll be opened very soon to Ilan. Currently it’s completed through Shiding

pics from Shiding to Pengshan sector … _SEC_ID=14

(notice one elevated bridge followed by tunnel)

pics from Pengshan to Pinling sector … _SEC_ID=15

pics from Pinling to Toucheng sector … _SEC_ID=16 (some sections are gorgeous)

I’ve heard the section to Pinling will be opened very shortly.

Freeway #5 is an ambitious project, it’ll be extended to Hualien from Suao (Suhua Freeway) which just got started, this section will be the most difficult part between Taipei and Taidong, if you look at the chart below, the majority of it go through tunnels (dotted sections) (detailed map)

Eventually it’ll be extended south of Taidong (Damali), going west and connect Freeway #3 in Chaozhou, Pindong

I, for one, am longing for the day when the new Taipei-Ilan freeway opens. That’s not because I’m eager to use it for zipping to Ilan in 40 minutes, but because it will draw all the heavy traffic (especially those murderous speeding trucks) away from Bei-I Road. There are some lovely spots and beautiful views along that road, and I’m sure I should be able to find some excellent places for swimming at Pinglin, but I seldom venture in that direction and haven’t done much exploring there yet because of the terrible driving conditions. Take away at least 50% of that traffic and maybe a great deal more, and it’ll offer an alluring alternative to riding the scooter up to Wulai.

One reason why I bought my apartment on Bei-I Road at the end of last year was because of the impending completion of that new freeway – so I do hope there won’t be any further delays and it will indeed be open by the end of next year as scheduled. Premier Yu, who I already like a lot for his character and style, has earned my undying gratitude for pushing to complete this project as quickly as possible because of the benefits it promises for the folk in his native Ilan. Thumbs up to you, Prem, even if you do romanize your name in such a strange way that I can never remember its spelling.

Excuse my ignorance, but does this new freeway completely replace the winding mountain road from Hsintien to Hualien (is this the Bei-I Road?)? I drove this road during Chinese New Year and it, though beautiful, was a nightmare.

As far as I am aware, Alley, it is indeed meant to replace the narrow, winding and deadly road from Taipei to Ilan, and then connect to other new or improved highways running down the east coast. The ultimate objective is to create a complete around-the-island system of high-speed trunk roads.

Thanks Omni. Like you, I can’t wait for the highway as I’m sure all the boy racers will take to it and leave the rest of us to enjoy the scenery and not have our nerves wracked every inch of the way.

We drove through Bei-I Road to Pinglin in early April for the tea festival, the problem wasn’t the terrain, but hordes of impatient drivers behind us. We were going right at speed limit and when they passed by us, they would’ve hit the incoming traffic had we not yielded toward the shoulder.

On Bei-I Road, descending toward Toucheng is among the deadliest and most notorious, it’s nicknamed 九彎十八拐 , several accidents have occured here before. … /index.asp

Many believed it’s not just the terrain, but that part is also haunted and cursed. If you could, read some of the haunted stories on Bei-I Road, just don’t drive during the night

“The ultimate objective is to create a complete around-the-island system of high-speed trunk roads”

Doing around the island is rather symbolic than economic, IMHO, I’d rather see TANEEB extend Freeway #6 (Hwy #3 at Wufeng, Taizhong County to Puli section is confirmed) to Hualian, The Puli - Hualian sector is still going through feasibility study and will be very difficult to build. This fwy will boost the economy of Nantou County, devastated by 9-21 earthquake. If it’s extended to Hualian, it’ll reduce travel time on land between Taizhong and Hualian by several folds. My uncle rode the bus from Taizhong to Hualian through Central Trans-Island Hwy, if it’s called correctly, 中部橫貫公路 , it’s over 10 hours and he was ready to spit out blood. Along with #5 to Hualian, this will connect Taizhong with Hualian and Yilan with ease. … 13/???.htm (actual path to Hualian)

The reckless overtaking is the scariest bit, for sure. Almost every time you round a bend, you come face to face with an overtaking vehicle that all but forces you off the road. It doesn’t take too much of that to leave me fuming with rage and my nerves in tatters.

Exactly, it freaks me out! It ruined my whole Chinese New Year.

I would have pummeled some guy’s face to a pulp if I’d had half the chance.

Exactly, it freaks me out! It ruined my whole Chinese New Year.

I would have pummeled some guy’s face to a pulp if I’d had half the chance.[/quote]

I totally agree, I have already been driving a car here for about 5 or 6 years now and I don’t think I will ever get use to it. These drivers that overtake cars on blind curves and come into my lane make me want to buy some kind beat-up Freeca and opps smash right into them. Let’s see, I will need some great safety equipment, air bags, three point safty harness, roll bars…

You know when I see the nightly news and see horrific non-fatal accidents, I cheer and pray that this is one less risk taking stupid driver on the road. Of course the fatal accidents I feel really bad about, but the non-fatal ones, I hope scared the devil out of the drivers and everyone around and they now see the light and will become a safe driver for the rest of their life.

Many, many, many’s the time I’ve wished for one of those reckless morons to find himself speeding head on towards a fully-loaded (or overloaded) gravel truck the next time he overtakes round a blind curve on the wrong side of the double yellow lines.

And talking about those double yellows, I’m almost inexpressibly appalled at the apparent total inability of many drivers here to keep their vehicles on the right side of the lines. It’s such an elementary driving skill, and the simplest thing in the world, but they just can’t seem to manage it or give a damn about trying to do so. Even when driving at moderate speed with loads and loads of space on their side of the road, and nothing in front for them to overtake, so many drivers still veer across the double yellow lines as often as they stay inside them. That is downright atrocious driving – just about as stupidly careless as it can get. Don’t they understand that the double yellow lines are there for a very obvious and essential purpose? Doesn’t it ever dawn on their addled brains even for a moment what the inevitable consequence will be if they stray across those lines while an approaching vehicle is doing the same in the other direction?

And one more thing: Don’t you other motorbike and scooter riders get infuriated at the way that drivers of cars and larger vehicles treat our presence on the road with such disdain? It’s as if we don’t have any rights at all compared to their superior status as drivers of four-or-more-wheelers. So if we are all trailing along in heavy traffic, too heavy or hazardous for us to overtake the vehicle in front, we can be sure that nine out of ten cars coming up behind us will refuse to just join the queue and remain beind a mere two-wheeler, but will overtake and pull in front of us no matter how dangerous a manouevre they have to pull to do so. If we try to stop them passing, they’ll tailgate and intimidate us until they get the chance to dart past. It gains them absolutely nothing, as they’re still stuck in the heavy stream of traffic and have no chance of moving on past the vehicle in front. But still they do it. It’s not only bloody stupid, but also extremely rude.

And if you’re riding down a long straight stretch of road, and a vehicle coming in the opposite direction wants to overtake and drive completely on your side of the road, he’ll do it without the slightest hesitation, almost as if you didn’t even appear in his field of vision or in the assumption that you’ll all but pull off the road to allow him his “right of way” – and if it seems that you’re having the effrontery not to give way and leave him all the space he demands, he’ll more than likely flash his lights and blast his hooter to tell you to get the hell of his way. So maddening!!!

Oh to drive a tank on Taiwan’s roads and teach a few people a lesson or two that they or their mourners wouldn’t easily forget! :smiling_imp:

Here is the only insight I got into the above issue.
During the early part of my first stint in Taiwan I was appalled by the way my driver drove the car , particularly on winding roads. As described above he would cross over to the wrong side of the road round blind bends etc. After asking him many times to stay on the correct side of the road , he would do it for a while then drift back to his old ways.
(I once told him to stop the car , get into the passenger side I drove for a while to show him how I wanted him to dirve )

I asked him why he did this. His answer was : I drive in the middle of the road so that if another driver comes towards me (also in the middle presumably then I can swerve out of the way but still stay on the road. If I drive on my side of the road & someone come towards me on the wron g side , I have no where to go…
Go figure.

Amazingly we were never in a car to car accident , though we were hit by a couple of scooters during his more outrageuos U turns into the on coming traffic.

I have a different driver now (for obvious reasons…), who is polite & stays on the correct side of the road. Needless to say we arrive last everywhere & I can get home by Taxi in about 60% of the time it takes with my driver.

You have a driver? I’m interested, tell me more.

About drivers having no respect for bikers on highways, I think it could be a kind of retribution for the crap drivers have to put up with on the city streets. I mostly get around on scooter, but I’ve driven enough to know what an absolutely frustrating and helpless feeling it is to drive, and be constantly surrounded by swarms (more like herds) of idiotic brainless bikers, weaving in and out of lanes, squeezing into impossibly narrow gaps between cars, clearly with less regard about getting a scrape or dent on their own ancient beat-up wheels than those who drive.

The one advantage of this moronic, kamikaze auto-pilot style of driving is that the behavior pattern of others on the road is very predictable. I no longer have to guess whether the guy behind me will try to pass me, cut me off, or squeeze in front of me. I KNOW he will, as soon as I give him a chance.

As a foreigner, I admit that I take pleasure sometimes at upsetting the simplistic laws of traffic on Taipei’s streets. For example, I will sometimes refuse to squeeze inbetween two stopped cars at a red light, and watch sadistically in my rear window the facial expressions of the poor soul behind me, as his auto-pilot slowly and visibly switches off, and his reaction turns from confusion to annoyance to anger. Of course if he didn’t feel the need to follow me bumper-to-bumper, he might have had more room to maneuver and find another path through the maze, but by now the column behind him has closed in and backing up is not an option. Tough :smiling_imp:

You have a driver[/quote]Must be a scuba driver.

I thought about the possibility of getting a driver, but as you say, either you get a slow wussy that follows the rules and you get there late and his slow speed drives you crazy, or you get a crazy driver and it is no better than you driving yourself in terms of stress. I think the solution is just to not be in a hurry and meditate on the situation to remain calm. Just think of them all as crazy and just get out of their way and not let it bother you. This is how I deal with things on my better days when I am not in a hurry or grumpy.

Anyway, to get back on topic, I too am looking forward to the highway being finished soon. It is amazing they finally got through that one mountain that was full of 10,000 year old water. I thought the project was doomed or would take a lot longer.

I agree with you entirely Omni. I’ve always thought that if I had a machine gun mounted ont he front of my bike there’s be less bad drivers about.


You have a driver[/quote]Must be a scuba driver.[/quote] :laughing: :laughing: Very good.

The driver came with the job. Handy for pub crawls & difficult parking areas. I dont tend to use him too much at weekends because I enjoy driving myself + also like to have a break from my fellow man. I use a scooter sometimes too at weekends as it easy to get around + park & good fun.

The point on maniacs & wuss is true . There doesnt seem to be anything in between.

Re: the Ilan road . I wonder wether this will open up the East Coast & make it a good place to invest in property. Does anyone know if the prices have started to go up in anticipation of this ?