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Roadbuilding | O H & S

September 21, 2004

Work started in ‘91

World’s 5th longest road tunnel opened

ILAN, TAIWAN

Taiwan has opened what officials called the world’s fifth-longest road tunnel.

The 12.9-kilometre Hsueh Mountain tunnel was part of the newly built 55-kilometre Taipei-Ilan Expressway, which runs through mountains and river valleys in northeastern Taiwan.

The Ministry of Transportation claimed that the tunnel was the longest in Southeast Asia, but it’s debatable whether Taiwan belongs to the region. Many consider the island to be in East Asia.

Construction on the tunnel began in 1991 with crews using a tunnel-boring machine for the first time in Taiwan, said Tseng Dai-jen, deputy chief engineer. Workers had to deal with complex fault lines and other hazards that constantly delayed the project, he said.

“There were more than 50 collapses in the first six years,” Tseng said.

The world’s longest road tunnel is the 24.5-kilometre Laerdal in Norway.

The Associated Press

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