Complaints mount over Aja River improvements project

The ¥83 million targeted to improve the Shuri district of Naha City by improving the Aja River area has become a nightmare for Okinawa Prefecture as complaints continue to pour in about shoddy workmanship, cracks in house walls and ceilings, and with a riverside road that has sunk.

The project in  Sueyoshi-cho, a part of the Shuri district, now has investigators on the scenes in addition to a myriad of construction workers.  The venue 100 meters northwest of the Sueyoshi Bridge that spans the Aja River includes a road that has begun sinking, and is already 11 centimeters below the surrounding roads.  Okinawa Prefecture Public Works is admitting the results of the work are a problem, explaining “it is because of 20-ton heavy equipment that came and went on the loose ground, causing soil to come out because of excavation work.”

Along the roadside, at least six households are already showing serious signs of damage.  Owners say the “new cracks appear to kitchens, bathrooms and tiles in the toilet”, or “the rain leaks through the roof because gaps are appearing in inner walls.” All if it began after the heavy equipment began rumbling through the area.   Okinawa Prefecture’s investigation began November 2nd, and the government has hired a trusted company to integrate the results.  Says Okinawa Prefecture:  “We will tender replies to the residents in the middle of December, depending on what we find out.”

Aside from the home complaints, residents are bemoaning the comings and goings of the noisy machines that are knocking rocks and dirt, crushing and stirring up the area. “We cannot open windows because of the heavy noise, vibrations and dust,” says one resident.  “It’s like an earthquake” says another.  “Dissatisfaction and stress are increasing, not vanishing,” adds another homeowner, while still another says “the explanation of the work planning was insufficient and lacked detail.  It’s not enough.”

Repairs began October last year, with the original plan to finish in February 2012. That didn’t happen, as the construction company added additional work and reexamined the method of construction.  The new projected completion date is next January.   Meanwhile, the original projected cost of ¥83 million has now jumped by at least ¥25 million as the Prefecture has added a second company to the project.