Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on March 19 formally endorsed a reconstruction program for 12 nuclear disaster-affected municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, paving the way for the implementation of a project to construct a new road linking Onahama port in the city of Iwaki with the Joban Expressway.
The project, to be financed by the central government, calls for constructing an 8-kilometer straight road, tentatively called Onahama Road, linking a harbor road, which runs through the Onahama industrial complex area near Onahama port, with the Joban Expressway, which links Tokyo with Sendai, capital of Miyagi Prefecture, along the Pacific coast.
Under the project, the envisaged road will be connected to the Joban Expressway at a halfway point between the Iwaki-Yumoto and Iwaki-Nakoso interchanges on the expressway.
Currently, motor vehicles need to take about 30 minutes from Onahama port to the two interchanges. If the Onahama Road is built, the time could be cut.
The Fukushima prefectural government plans to decide on the route of the Onahama Road during fiscal 2013, promote studies on how to connect the road with the Joban Expressway and make efforts to take a consensus on the acquisition of land for constructing the new road.
The prefectural government plans to complete the construction of Onahama Road by fiscal 2020, some 10 years after the March 11, 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster, as well as the subsequent nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Total construction costs are expected to reach tens of billions of yen, topping 20 billion yen.
The 12 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture subject to the reconstruction program are those where evacuation zones were set up in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster.