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Falling concrete rattles drivers, pedestrians on Highway 58

Date Posted: 2007-04-14

Traffic on Okinawa’s busiest roadway was further snarled Sunday afternoon after a chunk of concrete broke free from a building and crashed onto Highway 58.

The two kilogram piece struck one car as it fell from the Shoei Building exterior wall. The 30-year-old building sits on the west side of Highway 58 in the Kumoji area. Police immediately cordoned off one traffic lane, fearful further pieces of concrete could tear off the building. Southbound traffic was slowed, annoying travelers headed to Naha International Airport.

Officials say it was fortunate the incident happened on a Sunday. The concrete broke into pieces where a bus stop is located. There were no people waiting for the bus at the time. Restaurant patrons in the vicinity were stunned by the noise, and dinner-goers expressed good fortune of not being on the street at the time. “We can’t believe the concrete fell,” said one. “If some one had been hit, who would have been responsible?”

Okinawa Prefecture Police will maintain a watch on the traffic lane, and an investigation is under way to determine how the concrete became loose and fell.

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