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Longest bridge in Okinawa opens after 26 years of construction

Date Posted: 2005-02-11

Kouri Bridge is finally open.

Today marks the start of an easier transit system between Nago City’s Yagaji Island and Kouri Island. Construction began 26 years ago, in 1979, slowed by unexpected weaknesses in the ground along the bridge path.

The bridge between Nakajin and Nago City’s small island is critical to the area’s economic viability, reducing costs to local farmers and flower growers. Until today’s opening, residents have had a circuitous travel route which included ferries, to get themselves, families and products to the main areas.

The bridge is Okinawa’s longest, spanning 1,960 meters (6,370 feet). It cost ¥27,000,000,000 to build. It’s 11.25 meters wide, and includes a three-meter (10’) sidewalk. Designers built the bridge to withstand heavy winds, allowing it to remain open until winds ready 25m/Second.

The bridge stretches 14.8 meters above the water, allowing a 50 Class Ship to sail underneath.
Although the bridge is officially operational, there are still some glitches being worked out. Visits to the village office require a detour to Yagaji Island, then around the Nakajin Village. Final construction touchups are expected this Spring.

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