Red Brick Daily Staff

Freeway No. 7 has been hotly debated for at least half a decade, and recent protests by residents who live along its proposed path show the highway plan isn’t becoming less contentious.

National Freeway No. 7 would be a 23-kilometer expressway connecting the Xiaogang, Daliao and Renwu Districts of Kaohsiung. The plan is meant to help divert the ever-rising traffic levels near the Port of Kaohsiung.

One ‘little’ issue? The highway would basically run along the Chishan earthquake fault line. Oh, and its path would also skirt hillsides prone to landslides after torrential rains.

The leader of an area environmental group told the Taipei Times: “Despite repeated requests by environmental groups, the developers did not propose any practical alternative during past meetings or solutions to potential risks, including soil liquefaction and dip-slope sliding.”

The project’s detractors also claim the road’s route has been moved closer to residential areas to make large factory owners happy and many worry that their already less-than-optimal quality of life in these more rural areas of Kaohsiung will only worsen.

For others the freeway is a must. With traffic — especially large container trucks — choking the end of Freeway No.1 as it nears Xiaogang, accidents have risen and without a new road gridlock is guaranteed to get worse, they say.

Freeway No. 7 would primarily be a route for large trucks, allowing them to travel from factory areas in Daliao and Renwu to the port area without getting on the already over-crowded Freeway 1.

Taiwan’s EPA rejected the freeway in 2013, but after a new plan was submitted, it was put back on the table in 2014. In 2015 area residents took to the streets and the city government promised to try and find a compromise. As of mid-2016, neither side seems ready to back down.

What do you think? Does Kaohsiung need another freeway? Will some residents simply have to suffer for the “greater good?” Or is this just a bad idea?