Taiwan is planning to upgrade the Suao-Hualien highway in a project worth $1.26bn.

Work will involve reducing congestion, bettering safety and shortening the travel times on the link from two hours to 72 minutes.

Two new tunnels will also be built to decrease the length of the 77km-long highway to 60km, according to worldhighways.com.

The tunnels are expected to improve safety along certain points on the highway vulnerable to mudslides and falling rocks.

Contracts are expected to be awarded during the beginning of 2011 or end of 2010.

The coastal highway upgrade work is scheduled for completion by 2016.