The Zhongxiao Bridge (忠孝橋) connecting central Taipei with Sanchong District was completed on May 1st, 1982 (construction begun in 1978). While the bridge itself is 518 m long, there's an equally long ramp stretching from the Tamsui River to Chongqing South Road, which is located between the old North Gate (a.k.a. Beimen) and the Taipei Main Station (source). The bridge was an important addition to the rapidly growing Taipei in the 1980s, however it was not really an architectural masterpiece. In fact, the ramp was built so close to the North Gate, it was almost touching it, and completely shadowing it from the north.
It was one of the ugliest architectural mishaps in the city, and baffled a lot of locals, as well as foreign visitors. This is about to end these days, the Zhongxiao Bridge ramp is getting removed, and the area around it will be changed to a small public square.
From the City Government's website a few days ago:
Mayor Ko Wen-je attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction involving the dismantling of Zhongxiao Bridge Ramp and adjustment of road shape in the adjacent area on February 1.
During his address, he noted that the removal of the bridge signals the first step of the West District Gateway Project. What had been scheduled for completion in three months was reevaluated based on Taipei’s traffic conditions and the consequences of closing Zhongxiao West Road for prolonged period of time. Therefore, the city government decided to kick-off construction during the Chinese New Year, taking advantage of the period when traffic flow is relatively low.
Since I'm staying in Taipei during this holiday, I decided to head to the demolition area yesterday to take some photos and videos. You may first check out the video to get an idea of the atmosphere:
What was interesting, is that the city government created a viewing platform for spectators, anyone could go up there and have a look at the workers and the machines tearing down that old ramp. They even gave you a set of post cards and coasters related to the event, and to tourism in Taipei.
I really like what Mayor Ko is trying to do here, and elsewhere in the city. I hope Taipei will become more pedestrian friendly and greener in the future, and that historic building will be preserved and made more visible to local and foreign tourists. So much damage has been done in the past, it can only get better. I will write a follow up post after the whole area is completely redone.
If you want to respond to this post, please visit my social media:
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / TWITTER / FLICKR / YOUTUBE