Premier Su Tseng-chang inspects safety preparations for the Hsuehshan Tunnel.
With the opening of Hsuehshan Tunnel on June 16, 2006, the entire length of National Freeway No. 5 became open to traffic, cutting travel time between Taipei and Yilan from two hours to as little as 30 minutes.
Hsuehshan Tunnel runs 12.9 kilometers long and takes about 10 minutes to traverse, making it the longest road tunnel in Taiwan, the second-longest in Asia, and the fifth-longest in the world.
Its construction, which began in 1991, took 15 years and was overseen by 10 different ministers of transportation. Renowned tunnel expert Nick Barton described it as the most difficult tunneling project in Taiwan, and among the most challenging in the world.
The picture taken on April 22, 2006 shows Premier Su Tseng-chang inspecting safety preparations ahead of the tunnel’s opening.