Thursday, 17 September 2015

Last Sunday Trip To Taichung: Shihgang Barrage & Ma'an Barrage

I haven't got around to posting this until now, due to work reasons, but last weekend I did two trips. On the saturday, I took a friend out to see Wushantou reservoir, and on Sunday I took the HSR up to Taichung. The aim was to take my first trip eastward along provincial highway eight taking in the series of barrages that lie downstream from Deiji reservoir. The first of these is the Shihgang barrage which was famously damaged during the "921" earthquake which struck Nantou county in 1999. Somewhat irritatingly, this is often referred to as the Shihgang "dam". It is in fact a barrage, like the Tees Barrage in Stockton.

The western, downstream face of the Shihgang barrage viewed from the southern shore. 

Only four of the barrage's tainter gates were open.

The collapsed section of the barrage on the northern shore.

A twisted pipe section, damaged during the 921 earthquake on display at the northern shore.

The collapsed section of the barrage, with the original fencing still intact.

A tourist information panel about the earthquake and the damage done to the barrage. The sign has faded almost to the point of illegibility and should be replaced.

A view out over the small reservoir (really just a slight bulge in the river) formed by the barrage.

The first two operational gates on the northern side of the barrage.

Looking south along the upstream face of the barrage. 

Peering down into the collapsed section. 

Westward, the Dajia river continues to flow downhill toward the Taiwan Strait.
After spending a short time at the Shihgang barrage, I headed east on provincial highway eight for the first time. I wanted to see the Ma'an barrage further upstream and to familiarize myself with the road and its' particular hazards for a return trip. I already knew that much of the road would be very narrow in places, and the traffic (especially the presence of tourist buses) would render over-taking more dangerous than it usually is. At one point, a guy driving one of those large scooters (300cc or more) ended up coming off the road at a sharp bend before a tunnel - he almost crashed into the side of the tunnel. That wasn't going to happen to me.

First glimpse of the Ma'an barrage.

Complete view of the downstream face of the Ma'an barrage from provincial highway eight.

Unusually, this barrage comprises two distinct sections: the northern side is a series of nine tainter gates, whilst the southern side consists of five ogee-crest open overflow spillways.

Telephoto shot of the hydraulic gate on the northern shore which serves as the water intake for a tunnel leading to a small hydroelectric plant further downstream. 

Water spilling out of the fish ladder.

A view of the upstream face of the barrage from the southern shore.

A quick parting look upstream to the next bend in the river, before heading back to Taichung to catch the 6pm train.
Note to self: a point to remember is that even though I made good time on the drive back into Taichung city, arriving at just after 5pm, the traffic lights are absolutely horrendous and what should have been a twenty minute drive ended up costing me more like forty to forty five minutes. I only just caught the train in time. So budget more time for the return drive.


  1. Very impressive especially the twisted hose. Huge place which makes a nice walk! I should visite it next time I go to Taichung.

  2. This weekend I will go to Taichung again, but I will not stop at Shihgang. There are other things to see further east on highway 8.


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