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Extraordinary Years
Xiluo Bridge

Taiwan started receiving U.S. Aid in around 1951 and 1952, and stopped in 1965. In addition to military aid, the most frequently mentioned economic aid was flour, while agriculture and industries focused on development. However, U.S. Aid to TMMC were in fact not as substantial compared with other industries, which is most likely because TMMC products were mainly for military and heavy industries and relatively less related to livelihood industries, but TMMC did contribute to infrastructure.

One typical case is the Xiluo Bridge, located at the border of Changhua County and Yunlin County. In early days if you wanted to go across Zhoushui River, Taiwan’s largest river, you had to wait until the river was dry to take the road at the bottom of the river. This was why Xiluo residents had long formed a “Xilou River Humanitarian Bridge Construction Alliance” in 1936 during the Japanese Colonial Period; the alliance appealed several times to the Taiwan Governor-General Office before the construction of Xiluo Bridge was approved. Construction of Xiluo Bridge began in October 1937 and went out through winter during the dry season.

After the war Xiluo residents organized the “Xiluo Bridge Completion Promotion Committee,” and appealed to the Provincial Government to reinitiate construction. Construction of the Xilou Bridge was picked up on May 29th, 1952 with funding from the U.S. White Engineering Corporation, a company that was often responsible for planning U.S. aid construction, provided assistance and guidance for the construction of Xilou Bridge; the company’s engineer Buchanan was responsible for designing the bridge. Xilou Bridge stretches 1,939 meters in length and is 7.32 meters wide, the upper structure of the bridge adopted the improved Warren truss system, using steel to form basic triangles and repeatedly building one upon another. The bridge was constructed simultaneously from the north and south banks using two groups of worker; the bridge has a total of 31 holes, 15 holes on the south bank and 16 holes on the north bank; the road of the bridge was constructed by TMMC and BES Engineering Corporation, in which TMMC was responsible for the southern half overseen by engineer Wu Min-Kang, and was completed on December 25th.

The inauguration ceremony of Xiluo Bridge was held on January 24th, 1953. It was still the largest bridge in East Asia when it was completed, and was praised as the “number one rainbow in the far east.” To date the U.S. Aid mark can still be see on the bridge.

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