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Accidents up at island's most dangerous intersections

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2011-06-16

What many people have thought for ages, that the Isa Intersection in Ginowan City was absolutely dangerous, has been confirmed by Okinawa Prefectural Police.

The Isa Intersection, where Highway 58 and Highway 51 intersect just south of Camp Foster, is noted for numerous cases of rear-end collisions police say are caused by drivers on Highway 58 aren’t paying attention to drivers making turns onto the main thoroughfare. And drivers on Highway 51 keenly watching the traffic on Highway 58 and not noticing that the car in front of them has suddenly braked to a halt. A total of 151 accidents were recorded at Isa Intersection in 2010, an increase from 107 in 2009.

Dubious second place honors go to Michi-no-Eki Kadena intersection in Kadena Town, with Naha City’s Tomari Intersection just about as bad. Michi-no-Eki Kadena crossroad jumped from 76 accidents in 2009 to 108 last year. The Tomari intersection in Naha City was at 99 accidents in 2009, bumping up, literally, to 115 in 2010.

Okinawa Prefectural Police Traffic Control Section announced “The Worst 10 Dangerous Road Intersections” in an effort to curb future accidents. Police say they plan to continuously work on new signs and signboards calling attention to the risky intersections. Also on tap are plans to mark dangerous intersections with colored pavement and non-skid surfaces. The paint changes will be accomplished in coordination with road administration liaison officers.

Kokutai Street intersection in Chatan Town was ranked fourth most dangerous, with 75 accidents last year compared with 51 in 2009. Fifth worst was the Ishihira crossroad at Kitanakagusuku Village, jumping from 36 to 58 accidents. The Ameku T-intersection in Naha City, where southbound traffic on Highway 58 turns left going to Omoromachi and Shintoshin, was sixth. There were 58 accidents last year at the intersection, compared with 42 a year earlier.

Matsuyama crossing on Highway 58 in downtown Naha City ranked seventh worst on the island, registering 57 accidents last year, compared with 46 in 2009. Naha City’s Gibo Intersection was eighth on the list with 57 accidents last year, up seven from a year earlier. The 9th worst was Chatan Intersection in Chatan Town, where the actual number of accidents declined from 131 in 2009 to 99 last year, and Tomari Wharf intersection on Highway 58 on the northern side of downtown Naha rounded out the Okinawa Prefectural Police Top 10. Tomari Intersection also declined in the number of accidents last year, dropping to 78 from 103 in 2009.

Police assigned the rankings based upon data including the number of accidents, the rates of increase, traffic situations, and opinions solicited from police officers involved in traffic operations. Okinawa Prefectural Police says it hopes publishing the list will deter accidents by awakening driver and pedestrian awareness of the dangerous intersections, possibly for the first time.

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