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Words fly over two proposed monorail extension routes

Date Posted: 2007-08-31

An Urasoe route has seemingly held the upper hand as the choice for extending the Okinawa Monorail north from it’s current Shuri terminus, but that appears to be changing.

Officially, there are three potential route extensions, but the Urasoe route seemed a sure bet, going near the Maeda Prefecture-owned housing area to Urasoe Green Heights and the Urasoe City housing area, near the Shuri Higashi High School and Ishimine Prefecture-owned second apartments and Kubagawa Apartments owned by Naha City. The route would extend from Shuri Castle Station going to Nishihara Intersection.

A proposed Welfare Center route was considered before, but is now gaining strength as citizens and businesses lobby for it, claiming it’s the most advantageous to the community. The route would go through the Prefecture Welfare Center and Ishimine Prefecture-owned apartments second building, then on to Shuri Castle. The route is similar to the first proposal, which would carry the monorail extension through the Ishimine apartments and on to Shuri Castle.

The Urban Monorail Committee’s members now say the Welfare Center route “is the shortest railroad, and costs can be reduced compared to the Urasoe route.” Advocates of the two routes are becoming vocal about wanting the monorail through their neighborhoods, and promise to fight for a decision in their favor.

The Welfare route was earlier downplayed because it would pass over the Ginowan-Haebaru main road, requiring significant road widening from 18 to 25 meters. There had been predictions residents would balk at selling land to the government, while the Urasoe rout was on a track wide enough to accommodate the monorail support poles.

Urasoe City maintains it would bring more monorail customers, and has the city office working the issue. A meeting was scheduled for late yesterday to discuss the issue.

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