Typhoon’s rains cause cracks, damage to Highway 58 slopes

Heavy rains spawned by Typhoon Bolaven on its sweep across Okinawa several weeks ago are still wreaking havoc in the Nerome district of Ogimi Village, where cracks, slips and slides are impacting Highway 58.

Traffic engineers say slopes on Highway 58 are crumbling because of the heavy rain. The Northern Part National Road Office has already checked 30 cracks and slippage on the upper part of the highway slopes. Highway Office officials say they’re fearful the roads could crumble again in the event of heavy rain, and plans are now in place for blocking off traffic and suspending it.

Cracks as much as 50cm wide have been measured, and are now under 24-hour observation. Dirt is being supplemented with sandbags, and the highway office will be strengthening its observation systems with a measuring machine on the slope, as well as a rain gauge. Officials say they’ll also make temporary erosion barriers about 80 meters long and four meters high before the end of September.