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Road symposium scheduled

Date Posted: 2002-06-23

A symposium no the traffic and future road construction is scheduled to take place in Okinawa Harborview Hotel no June 28. The symposium is organized by the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper, and its aim is to seek new ideas to alleviate the perpetual traffic jams on the island.

Attending the symposium panel discussion are Tamio Tsuyugami from Okinawa General Bureau and Anshin Cargo Co. President Nobuo Asato.

The prefecture road planners agree that the main cause of the traffic jams is that there’s only one main road connecting the south to the north, Highway 58, and the access to it. The Okinawa General Bureau has calculated that the cost of traffic jams to the local economy is ¥160 billion a year. The calculation is based on an estimate that an average driver stays on the road an average of one hour a day.

Tsuyugami says that to alleviate the traffic, people should learn to share taxis and the bus system should be streamlined. “Currently, the bus routes are too complicated, to use them too expensive and they are inconvenient. We must find ways to reduce costs and create more effective system,” Tsuyugami says, adding, “If people would learn to share taxis that would reduce both the cost and the number of cars on the road.”

The completion of a road project called “West Coast Seawall Road” connecting Okinawa Convention Center with Itoman City in 2008 is expected to bring some relief. Currently, an undersea tunnel connecting Naha’s Higashimachi to the airport is on way, and the construction of the portion on the landfill off Camp Kinser is scheduled to begin soon. Once the road is complete, it will take only 15 minutes to drive from the airport to the convention center instead of some 45 minutes now.

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