Home » 30% of Mostly Aging Bridges in Japan Need Safety Fixes
Featured Global News Japan News

30% of Mostly Aging Bridges in Japan Need Safety Fixes

Some 32 percent of 41,395 mostly aging bridges supervised by local municipalities in Japan need safety improvements, but these essential measures are still pending, government data recently showed.

As these measures have not been implemented as of March due to shortages of skilled labor and funding, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism plans to provide financial and other support to encourage the municipalities to address the problem swiftly.

The bridges were determined by authorities between fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2018 as requiring repair, reinforcement or demolition, as among measures to ensure safety, the ministry said.

According to the data, certain measures have been taken for 52 percent of the deteriorating or faulty bridges, while implementation is still ongoing for 16 percent of such structures.

Provisional steps, such as closing traffic around bridges considered highly dangerous, have been taken, the ministry said.

The data showed that mostly aging bridges maintained by the municipalities are the most in need of fixes, compared with those administered by the state at a ratio of 1 percent.

The corresponding figure for bridges run by expressway operators was 5 percent, while those controlled by prefectures and ordinance-designated major cities such as Osaka and Nagoya accounted for 11 percent.

Mandatory safety checks on bridges and tunnels nationwide are now conducted every five years in the wake of the 2012 ceiling collapse of the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan, that killed nine people.

In the incident, three vehicles were trapped after a 138-meter part of the concrete ceiling collapsed. An investigative panel under the transport ministry later concluded that the expressway operator had not conducted proper inspection and maintenance.

In the mandatory safety inspections, bridges and tunnels are examined on a four-tier scale, with the worst grade requiring urgent safety measures due to potential hazards.

Source : Kyodo News