6 October 2016

Liukuo Hot Spring: a major landslide on the Southern Cross Island Highway in Taiwan

Posted by dr-dave

Liukuo Hot Spring landslide

Earlier this week the Southern Cross Island Highway in Taiwan, one of only a small number of roads that cross the Central Mountains of Taiwan, suffered a major landslide at Liukou Hot Spring.  This event was captured on a fairly dramatic video by road users.  The video is contained within this PTS News report:

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PTS News has a nice article about the landslide and its impacts, which indicates that about 150 metres of the road has been lost.  The report also contains some nice drone images of the landslide that demonstrate its size:

Liukou Hot Spring

Landslide on the Southern Cross Island Highway in Taiwan at Liukou Hot Spring, via PTS News

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Liukou Hot Spring

A landslide on the Southern Cross Island Highway at Liukou Hot Spring, via PTS News

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The Southern Cross Island Highway in Taiwan is probably one of the most landslide-prone roads on Earth.  Despite working in Taiwan for 25 years I have never yet managed a successful traverse without the way being blocked by a landslide.  This Google Earth image illustrates the magnitude of the challenges:

Liukou Hot Spring

Google Earth image of the central portion of the Southern Cross Island Highway in Taiwan

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Many of these landslides were triggered by Typhoon Morakot in 2009.  Keeping this road open is a major challenge, but it is an essential access route for communities located in the mountains.  That it is open at all is a testament to the engineers.

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