Thursday, November 17, 2016


A few days ago we reported on the unusual event occurring in Japan, about a sinkhole that seemingly popped out of nowhere on November 8 at a busy intersection in Fukuoka, the largest city in the southern main island of Kyushu. It certainly looked daunting then, a big gaping hole with broken pipes, power cables and gas lines hanging over ground that had turned akin to quicksand. One would assume that it was going to take a few weeks of reconstruction at least. Well apparently, such estimates were underestimating Japan’s capabilities too greatly.

Japan Today reports that, in quite a remarkable feat of engineering, not only has the sinkhole been filled in, the underground pipes and lines have also been repaired and the road re-paved with asphalt and painted all in record time. And true to the way the Japanese does things, the reconstruction was simultaneously followed by the most profuse public apology from the city government, asking the Fukuoka public for their patience and understanding for the fuss brought on by the repair work and most importantly for the reason the sinkhole had opened up in the first place. It was the vibrations from the underground construction of a new line for the city’s subway system that was concluded to be the root cause for the sinkhole.

With the investigation and apologies out of the way, road crews quickly got to work fixing up the damage. The majority part of the repair was dumping large amounts of concrete cement into the hole (after the underground lines were reinstalled), then laying over a fresh layer of tarmac that was painted over with roadway indicators and a crosswalk as soon as it dried. Remarkably the whole process took merely two days or so, and by the morning of Tuesday November 15 the freshly patched road was dry and hard enough to once again allow pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Fukuoka city mayor Soichiro Takashima had been the one to issue the mandated public apology regarding the sinkhole saying,"We’re very sorry for causing great trouble."He added that a panel of experts was currently busy investigating the specific factors that led to the collapse of the street, and assured the general public that the new section of the street had been touted as being 30 times more stable than the original construction had been.

The sheer speed by which Japanese officials and construction crews managed to repair the massive sinkhole caught the attention of the world, especially on social media. Twitter users from the UK remarked that Japan did for their sinkhole in two days what their country took 10 months for the Mancunian Way Crater in Manchester.

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