This blog was created for USASTRATCOM Long Lines Battalion Army personnel who served in Taiwan during the 1965-72 time frame. Specifically, those who lived and worked in and around Taipei are the target. If you worked at the Grass Mountain or Gold Mountain facilities or anywhere in downtown Taipei, we would like to hear from you. All are welcome to visit and contribute to this blog. Your comments and pictures are encouraged.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Two-Way Traffic On A One Lane Road

Blasting through granite and other stone was sometimes a necessary part of initial road construction throughout Taiwan. 

Tom Jones came across a now-famous road called the Suhua Highway (Provincial Highway 9).  It is called by many as the most beautiful highway in Taiwan.

Today it's about 73 miles long (118 km). The Japanese built it and it was open for traffic in 1932. However, not all of it was 2-lane.

The northern part was one lane only and getting from point A to B was tricky. Cars traveled in bunches of 6, and pulled off the road onto areas where they could wave to cars coming the other way.

The entire road was widened in the late 1980s into 1990. Michael Turton has a wonderful article on the highway as it looks today. To read the text and see the photos, click HERE. 

East and south of Keelung is the beginning of Suhua Highway in Suao Township.

Some 73 miles later is the southern terminus in Hualien City.
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

For many of us who lived in Taiwan in the 1950s and 1960s, the site of men actually constructing and paving roads was not unusual.

This picture was taken in Matsu, but could easily have been in almost any other province of Taiwan.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Look to the immediate left of this picture and notice the footpath leading up from the road. Made in Taiwan by Taiwanese

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

One of Tom's best pictures, the highway, with its single lane, makes its way around the bend.

Our apartment in Yangmingshan had clouds blow by occasionally, but this system seems stationary on this mountain.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Look closely and you'll see a car in the distance. This may have been an area to pull off to allow opposing traffic to pass.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

This section of the gravel-covered road had a concrete barrier which was unusual.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Whatever the sign indicates, let's hope it says " STOP!" With the power lines overhead and a tunnel in the distance, it looks similar to many other pictures.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Years later, at approximately the same site with the tunnel, Jeff Wang took this picture of an abandoned section of the old road. Just compare it with the photo above.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

There are some pictures that we take that mean so much more than just a still shot. This young Taiwanese aboriginal woman stands proudly in front of her earthen hut.

Isolated for so many centuries, these people were a reason why the Japanese built the Suhua Highway. To me, she looks very dignified as she pauses from her chores.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

In her native attire, she poses again for another picture. Taken over 50 years ago, don't you wonder what this area looks like now.  It could be in one of many places in Taiwan.

As for the native Taiwanese woman, here in her flip-flops, what became of her and her family..
Photo by Fred Hsu 2009

The Suhua Highway is still prone to mudslides. Heavy winds and rain can saturate most any steep surface with a soft underground.

This happened to us once at Grass Mountain. The main road going to our work station was blocked for a week.


  1. The sign in the 8th image says Tunnel No. 4. I suppose the aboriginal woman belongs to the Taroko tribe by the attire she wears.

  2. The comment was much appreciated. We have almost depleted our supply of Mr. Jones' pictures. They were truly a wonderful gift. He certainly got around back in 1957-58.