There are 123 bridges nationwide that are in urgent need of repair and maintenance, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said on Monday as he visited Suao Township (蘇澳), Yilan County, to view the wreckage of the Nanfangao Bridge (南方澳橋).
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has compiled a list of bridges in need of work following a review by local governments in the wake the Nanfangao collapse that that killed six people and injured 12.
Local governments that have bridges on the ministry’s list should prioritize the repair work, Su said.
The central government would provide all necessary assistance and funding if a county or city cannot finance the needed repairs, he added.
He also extended his apologies on behalf of the government over the collapse, especially to the victims’ families and those injured, and thanked those who helped with rescue efforts, including the military and police.
Su also promised that the government would do everything possible to ensure there is no repeat of the incident and reiterated his vow that a new bridge would be built as soon as possible.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Huang Yu-lin (黃玉霖), who briefed the premier on the incident during his visit, said the first phase of removing the remains of the bridge would begin today.
In the first stage, the bridge’s fallen arches are to be removed, while phase two will see the rest of the bridge taken out.
In related news, one of the Indonesian migrant fishers who was injured when the falling bridge crushed the fishing boat he was working on awoke from a six-day coma on Monday, a spokeperson for Saint Mary’s Hospital in Luodong Township (羅東) said.
Although Winanto, 29, cannot yet speak, he was able to take part in a cellphone video call with his mother in Indonesia, who wished him a speedy recovery, the spokesperson said.
Winanto nodded his head and gestured “OK” to his mother, they said.
Relatives working in Tainan visited him on Monday, as did the premier.
He has been in the intensive care unit, after suffering brain swelling, facial bone fractures and pulmonary contusions in the incident.
The spokesperson said the fisher was to undergo a computed tomography scan to help doctors determine his condition and further treatment.
The hospital is also treating the Taiwanese driver of an oil tanker that fell from the bridge and caught fire, who is said to be recovering well.