Yamanashi Prefecture’s Sasago Tunnel, where nine people were killed four weeks ago by collapsing ceiling panels, was finally reopened at the end of last week, alleviating some of the congested traffic on the Chuo Expressway. Unfortunately only a day later a five-car crash closed it again only one day later.
Officials say the car accident in the tunnel, which is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Tokyo, was fairly minor with only one person being injured. However, the crash halted traffic for over three hours, severely delaying those leaving Tokyo to visit hometowns or other places for the New Year’s holiday. Many believe more collisions will take place as drivers are distracted by their fear of another ceiling collapse. Many of the drivers on Saturday who were among the first to use the reopened tunnel admitted to looking up at the ceiling while at the wheel.
The fatal collapse took place on December 2nd, when a large section of suspended concrete ceiling panels fell on the cars below. A follow-up investigation has revealed a lack of maintenance of the aging infrastructure, combined with the ignoring of several warning signs. The tunnel’s operators have removed all of the panels similar to the type that collapsed, but similar, and aging, construction techniques have been found in several of Japan’s other tunnels.
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan