The National Police Agency and the Tokyo metropolitan government have released a plan to avert traffic chaos in the event that a major earthquake hits Tokyo and the Kanto region.
The plan calls for a network of access roads reserved for emergency vehicles in the event of a magnitude 7 earthquake striking the capital. Non-emergency vehicles will be banned from using 1,770 kilometers of road in Tokyo and the 10 prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Yamanashi, Nagano, Shizuoka and Aichi, Fuji TV reported.
Only vehicles belonging to the police, fire department and the Self-Defense Forces will be allowed to use the designated six major highways and 46 other routes.
Experts believe that in the event of an earthquake occurring in or near the capital, reliable access to the most densely populated areas of the city will be essential in the first hours. Access roads for emergency workers will help them to extinguish fires, treat the injured and free people trapped by rubble much faster.
The NPA said the plan is in response to the massive congestion that followed the March 11 earthquake when millions of people in Tokyo were unable to get home. Trains stopped running, while expressways and streets quickly became jampacked.
The routes include those providing access to and from all of Tokyo's 23 wards and the Tomei Expressway to Gotemba Junction, from Mikkabi Junction to the Okazaki Interchange, the Tohoku Expressway and the Nasu Interchange. It will also include the New Tomei Expressway to Gotemba Junction, and the road from the Chuo Expressway from the Suwa Interchange, among others.© Japan Today