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New tunnel shortens airport-to-city travel time

Date Posted: 2011-09-09

It’s almost like a dream, making the drive from Naha International Airport to downtown Naha City in only 10 minutes, or the trip from the airport to Camp Kinser in 15 minutes, but it is a reality.

Okinawa’s first undersea tunnel, the 2.5 kilometer long Naha Umi-sora Tunnel linking the airport with the Naha seaport area in Wakasa is now open to traffic. The road and tunnel, which cost ¥168 billion, took more than seven years to design and build. On opening day a little more than a week ago, the traffic backed up another 2.5 kilometers at both ends of the tunnel for more than 1½ hours as drivers clamored for an opportunity to test the new underwater route.

Okinawa Prefecture invited some 300 people to the dedication ceremonies in the morning, before opening the new span. Okinawa officials say the new road shortens the transit time between the airport and downtown by 12 minutes.

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