The Directorate-General of Highways has announced the results of a study into building a freeway between Hualien and Taitung. Launched because of worries that the new Su-ao-Hualien highway will bring more cars into the east than the region's roads can handle, the study found that the current road system should in fact be adequate. It also found that the freeway would cost NT90 billion (US$2.8 billion, roughly US$17 million/km at 160km long) and take six years to complete.
Although the freeway likely won't be built, this is a good example of how driving infrastructure begets more driving infrastructure, with new freeways drawing in more drivers, who clog other connecting roads and drive calls for even more freeways. In this specific case, although Taiwan's east isn't especially dense, it's still very well suited to mass transit, with the vast majority of the population living within a few kilometers from the rail line (well, except in Taitung City...). Perhaps the best thing the government could do for mobility in the east at this point is rebuild the branch to Taitung, which after all is the most popular destination between Hualien City and Pingtung.