Ko follows through on promise to remove Zhongxiao bus lane

By Queena Yen ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Although it took 50 minutes longer than expected, the work to remove the long-criticized Zhongxiao West Road Bus Priority Lane was finished before 7 a.m. yesterday, following Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (�_����) promise made during his election campaign last month. According to the Taipei Public Works Department, since underground water pipes were accidentally broken during the demolition, causing stagnant water to collect and making the ground less stable, it took more time than expected to finish the work. However, workers still managed to finish the task before 7 a.m.

Because of the work, part of the road had to be temporarily closed. After workers completed the job, the road running from west to east was expanded to four lanes and the opposite direction opened five lanes. Authorities stated that another construction project would take place at 11 p.m. yesterday to complete the removal project. Lots of traffic showed up at Zhongxiao West Road yesterday morning as usual, however, there were no traffic jams. Many citizens also took pictures of the site to document the bus lane that was put out of commission before it had ever opened to the public. Ko also went to the site to inspect the work yesterday. He stated that it had cost a total of NT$4.1 million to complete the work, and the project was originally expected to cost NT$6 million, which shows the efficiency of the city government.

In addition, Ko also stressed that as a surgeon he reflected on any little mistake that happened while he was working, and he uses the same standard when inspecting the project. Ko said that the original 3D map for the underground pipelines was not clear enough, and this flaw led to the workers accidentally damaging the pipe. Therefore, Ko demanded the relevant authorities to re-inspect the piping plan and work on a new map for the neighborhood. It will take about 1.5 years to complete a map for the whole Western District in Taipei, according to authorities.

To help citizens adjust to the new route after the removal of the bus lane, Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (�L�ܺa), who supervised the construction yesterday, said there will be traffic conductors in the area over the next three months in case drivers are not aware of the change.