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Yilan Origin

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Jiang Weishui Freeway (National Freeway No. 5)  Inconvenient transportation and lackluster commercial developments are long-term sentiments of the people of Yilan. Even the establishment of a university became a political appeal during elections. These hopes and aspirations have met with various degrees of fulfillment during recent years.


  Yilan's transportation saw major and long-term developments during the economic boom of the 1970s. During the energy crisis, the government pushed for large scale public construction projects for the sake of long-term economic development. Projects relevant to Yilan include the northern circuit railway and Su'ao Harbor, which are included in the Ten Major Construction Projects. The northern circuit railway opened to traffic in 1980. Construction on the Su'ao Harbor commenced in 1974, and work began on the building of the North Coast Highway in 1976.


  Despite major advances in transportation in Yilan, such changes consisted little more than of extending and widening pre-existing roads. The people of Yilan felt that in order to solve the fundamental problem of transportation once and for all, a major roadway leading directly to Taipei was the ultimate solution. In 1989, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications finally passed the bill giving the go-ahead for the building of an expressway between Taipei and Yilan, which was later upgraded to freeway status.


  The Jiang Weishui Freeway is the largest public transportation construction project in the history of Yilan. It is also the first freeway to span the eastern and western parts of the island. It is connected with the Nangang System Interchange to the west, the Freeway No.3 to the north, Toucheng Township in Yilan County to the east, and Su'ao Township to the south. With a length of approximately 54 kilometers, it runs through the Xueshan mountain range and mostly consists of tunnels and bridges.


  Construction on the Jiang Weishui Freeway commenced on the 15th of July in 1991. The most formidable feat of engineering is the 12.9-kilometer Xueshan Tunnel. Because of geological problems like fractured rock, the project was plagued with floods and tunnel collapses ever since work began. Water flooded in thirty-six times and the tunnel boring machine becoming stuck twenty-five times. On one occasion the project screeched to a grinding halt, and the date the tunnel was scheduled to be open to traffic was postponed several times. However, the hard work and dedication of all who worked on the project came to fruition on the 16th of September in 2004, when the tunnel was finally completed. The Freeway No.5 finally opened up to traffic on the 16th of June in 2006 and was christened the "Jiang Weishui Freeway".

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