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Residents express fear about using new road

Date Posted: 2006-01-27

A traffic shortcut between Kadena Town and Yomitan Village is soon to become reality as a new roadway is completed.

Route Makihara is a new road being blazed through a forest in Kadena Town’s Kudoku area and Yomitan Village’s Ouwan area. The Y1,689,000,000 project is scheduled to open in April. The new road was funded by the Self Defense Ministry as not only a shortcut between the two municipalities, but to reduce traffic near the Hira River.

Many local residents are apprehensive about being able to safely use the new road, noting that it runs near an American military exercise area. They say that GBS smoke used in training exercises could drift across the road, affecting visibility and making driving dangerous. Additional concerns center on land being returned to Okinawans; that land would be even closer to the military training area.

Officials downplay the apprehension, noting there’s a five-meter wall between the exercise area and the new road. Residents say that wall is only good for blocking noise, not smoke.

Kadena Town officials have asked the U.S. Air Force to move the exercise away, but the military says there’s no place to move.

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