A Sunken Road Leveled Up in a Week
It happened early in the morning, 5:15 a.m. November 8, in the heart of Hakata, near the Hakata Station, Fukuoka. All of a sudden, a portion of the road sank 30x30 meters, leaving a huge cavity.
A tunnel-digging operation was ongoing underneath to run a subway line down below. Obviously, the operation somehow led to the accident, causing the bedrock to fall, water to gush out and the road above to sink as it did. Power, gas, communications lines and other main infrastructures all died; emergency relocation notices were circulated in the neighboring buildings. The gate to Kyushu was closed up in what appeared to be a major urban catastrophe.
Luckily, though, no casualties were reported thanks to a swift response in the initial stage by the city authorities engineered by Mayor Soichiro Takashima. The following day Mayor Takashima declared in his blog thus:
"Now, dear citizens of Hakata. The whole world is watching us how we will cope with this bolt out of the blue - how quickly we can restore your routine life back.
"Let us show the world how efficiently Japan can cope with the challenge. Do give us your helping hands to get the work done swiftly."
Mayor Takashima dared set a deadline to fix and open the road for traffic in one week. All contractors worked out a work flowchart to bring the area back to normalcy ion a week.
Roughly 3,500 cubic meters of luidization-treated soil was brought in by 780 transit-mixer trucks and poured into the cavity 24 hours around the clock. Three days after the accident
the road surface was sturdy enough for heavy construction vehicles to move about. In no time, power lit, water/sewage came to life, followed by communications lines and gas.
A week afterward, November 14, the scars of the catastrophe are nowhere to be seen. Stats say the entire operation was done by manpower worth 60 heads per day - 420 heads throughout the project. Good show, Mayor Takashima. (Nathan Shiga)