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Massive traffic jam bottlenecks Highways 58, 330 for six hours

Date Posted: 2005-12-08

It was the worst traffic jam anyone could remember.

It stretched from Urasoe City’s Camp Kinser all the way south to Naha City’s Asahibashi area, a distance of more than seven kilometers. Nobody could understand how the backup could occur, and even more frustrating, how it could last for hours and hours. Hundreds and hundreds of cars were bumper to bumper along both Highway 58 and Highway 330, with even the connecting route through Omoromachi brought to a standstill.

The mess began shortly after noon, and didn’t begin smoothing out until mid-evening. The Prefecture Traffic Operations Center blames the bottlenecks to the Naha Marathon and to construction in downtown Naha.

Thousands of would-be marathon runners flocked to the Budoukan in Naha, near the Onayama Park, waiting to sign up for the Naha Marathon. Officials say there were between 20-25,000 athletes blocking the streets and sidewalk while waiting their turn.

Construction at Kumoji Intersection in downtown Naha was the other choke point, as traffic squeezed down to a single lane on Highway 58. Drivers were tense, irritated and annoyed with the delays.

And from the murky mess came the somewhat humorous story of a man fired for being late to work. Seems he’d done it often, and December 3rd was the last straw. The man’s excuse was “a big traffic jam” but the boss wasn’t buying it, since he had warned the employee before. As Monday morning dawned, and the boss was reading his newspaper and sipping coffee, he read the story of the traffic jam.

“Oh my God. He was telling me the truth!” he murmured. The boss immediately sought out his former employee and rehired him. A 6˝ hours long traffic jam was an excuse that turned out to be the truth.

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