Monday, February 27, 2012

Xiluo Bridge History

The Great Xiluo Bridge between Xiluo and Changhua is one of the highlights of riding south from Taichung to Tainan; it is probably the only highlight if you ride down the center of the western plain. The bridge was begun under the Japanese and completed by the KMT gov't in the '50s. It is a remarkably long bridge, lots of fun to ride over. In its day it was one of the world's longer bridges but now it doesn't make the list (though two of our HSR viaducts do).

The bridge is located on Rte 145 -- if you're biking, 145 is a long flat road that shoots across the center of the plain is an excellent alternative to 19 or the 1, both of which are crowded, truck-heavy, and studded with traffic lights.

My friend Drew of Taiwan in Cycles spotted a bit of history built into the south end of the bridge: US-Taiwan cooperation from the old days is still inscribed on it (that's Chris peering around the side there; Drew's pic).  Organized in 1898, the United States Steel Export Company eventually became United States Steel International in 1963. During WWII it was used as a front by the US government to sell machines and steel to the Allies prior to US entry since it was illegal under US law to sell directly to belligerent powers (an ad from 1945). After the war it was involved in steel structural products as the lead bidder on projects all over the world (it's amazing how little information there is on it on the web).

The other plaque on the bridge says "Chinese-American Cooperation". Taiwan's history is written on its infrastructure.....
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1 comment:

Steven Crook said...

As your post doesn't actually say how long the bridge is, I dug the number up: 1939m.