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52nd Anniversary Memorandum of Directorate General of Highways

Since its founding on August 1, 1946, the Directorate General of Highways (DGH) has been responsible for much of the highway transportation, supervision and construction that make driving possible in Taiwan. The DGH’s wide-ranging success is largely due to the wise and farsighted policies of its directors along with the hard work of all its staff. Its achievements have contributed to economic growth, national defense, education and cultural exchange.

To outline these achievements, in 1986 the DGH published a special retrospective for its 40th anniversary. For its 52nd anniversary the DGH is offering a new retrospective that will highlight much of its engineering and motor vehicles supervision work, including the following achievements:

  • Engineering:

    (1) West Coast Expressway Project; (2) Planning and aerial survey of the Central Cross-Island Highway; (3) Provincial Highway 2, Guandu-Keelung widening project; (4) Construction of the Liwuxi Bridge on Provincial Highway 9 (Suhua Highway); (5) Provincial Highway 9, Taroko section of the Suhua Highway to Hualien Airport widening project; (6) Provincial Highway 9, Dawu – Ansu improvement project; (7) Provincial Highway 11 widening and improvement project; (8) Provincial Highway 13 widening and improvement project; (9) Provincial Highway 16, Mingjian-Shuili new highway construction project; (10) Provincial Highway 19 widening and improvement project; (11) Provincial Highway 13, Sun Moon Lake – Shuili widening and improvement project; (12) Provincial Highway 27, Shuidonggua - Dajin & Gaoshu – Pingtung improvement project; (13) Keelung Nuannuan – Yilan Daxi new highway construction project; (14) Yuli-Changbin new highway construction project; (15) Highway improvement projects 1-4, Penghu County.

    The DGH finished the following new highway construction and broadening projects before June 1998: improvements to the Hualien/Taitung sections of Provincial Highways 1, 3 and 9; Provincial Highway 16 Shuili section; Provincial Highway 20 north side of Qianniao Bridge to Yujing; Provincial Highway 21, Sun Moon Lake to Shuili; and County Road 149, Zhushan to Meishan.

    The DGH’s major bridge construction projects include Penghu Bridge, Taipei Bridge and Huajiang Bridge. Projects that were still underway include widening and improvements to the West Coast Highway, West Coast Expressway, East-West Expressway and Provincial Highway 11 (eastern Taiwan). For the construction of eight sections of the East-West Expressway the DGH used advanced techniques, such as the cantilever construction method, precast shoring method, advancing shoring method, and new Austrian tunneling method. Among the eight sections, it gave priority to Beimen to Yujing (Provincial Highway 1), which was completed in July 1998; Nanliao to Zhudong, which was scheduled to partially open on November 1, 1998, (Provincial Highway 1) and fully open before 2003.

    The DGH also carries out general maintenance on all the roads it oversees. In 1998 it improved traffic signs and signals. When typhoons bring torrential rain (such as Typhoon Herb in 1996) and contribute to earthquakes, DGH staff risk their lives to repair and quickly rebuild highways and bridges. To ensure that highways and bridges are safe, the DGH assigned several engineering consultants and academic institutes to inspect 80 major bridges in Taiwan. These experts also held three training courses on bridge inspections. And to better respond to future disasters, experts developed a bridge management system and road surface management system.

  • Motor Vehicles Administration:

    Statistics show that the amount of vehicles in Taiwan had doubled every five years before slowing to a 30 percent biennial increase more recently. Currently there are 12 million cars and motorcycles in Taiwan, or one for every 1.8 people. With limited staff to oversee these motor vehicles, policy needs to be simple, convenient and user-friendly. The DGH has already initiated two stages of improvements at its motor vehicles offices and stations, covering 22 and 19 items, respectively. It will also require a third stage of improvements. Items conducted between 1993 and 1997 include:

    (1) Better communication; (2) Convenient driver’s license tests; (3) Computer and telephone automatic enquiry and printing services; (4) Serial number display system; (5) Digital links between supervision offices; (6) Change of registration renewals for regular vehicles and tow trucks to once every three years; (7) Letting branch offices provide automobile administration services; (8) Telephone credit and debit card payment system for traffic violations and the fuel tax; (9) Substitute inspection services for private company cars and imported vehicles, as well as evening inspection services; (10) Policy publications explaining driver’s license test notifications, vehicle conversions, and tax break notifications for the disabled; (11) Promotion of authorized hospitals and medical agents for the driver’s license physical; (12) Single counter service improvement project (initiated in March 1997); (13) Promotion of the walking around service; (14) Computerized driver’s license tests; (15) Publication of counter operation guide and law and regulation guide; (16) and “E-government” computerized highway supervision services.

    Because highway construction makes the transport of goods possible, it is the foundation of all other infrastructure. Without it, development would not be possible. Even Dr. Sun Yat-Sen recognized the importance of transportation when he called it the “mother of all infrastructures.” Besides making life better for Taiwanese residents, highway construction benefits tourists and the island’s flourishing tourism industry.

    This book is to celebrate the DGH’s 52nd anniversary. It is dedicated to the agency’s hard-working, innovative staff members, whose devotion and strong will have led the DGH, and Taiwan, toward a new era.

    June 30, 1999


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