Construction work to begin on Taiping Island early 2014
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) Construction work of a new dock and improvements to a runway will begin early in 2014 on the largest island of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and is expected to be completed in two years, authorities said Tuesday.
The new dock on Taiping Island will be able to accommodate larger frigates and help with the government's mission to protect fishermen operating in surrounding waters, said the Taiwan Area National Expressway Engineering Bureau（TANEEB）under the Ministry of Transportation.
In addition to a 320-meter dock, the project also includes a 210-meter access road, navigation guidance and other auxiliary facilities, said TANEEB.
At present, larger ships have to drop anchor some distance from shore and rely on smaller vessels for loading and unloading, but the problem will be solved with the new dock and dredging that will increase the depth of the harbor to 14 meters, the bureau said.
Work will also be carried out on the 1,300-meter runway to improve rain water drainage and add landing lights and a refueling facility, it said.
The total cost of the work, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, will come to NT$3.3 billion (US$110 million), of which some 60 percent will be used to cover the cost of transporting the materials needed for the project, according to the bureau.
Located about 1,600 km from Taiwan's southern port city of Kaohsiung, Taiping Island is the southernmost territory under the control of the Republic of China government.
The island is 1.36 km long and 350 meters at its widest point, and is manned by Coast Guard personnel. There are no civilians living on the island, which covers an area of less than 0.5 square kilometers.
(By Wang Shu-fen and Jay Chen)
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