Sasago Tunnel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sasago Tunnel
Kōshū entrance to the Sasago Tunnel
May 2009
Location Yamanashi Prefecture
Coordinates 35°37′16″N 138°47′34″E / 35.62111°N 138.79278°E / 35.62111; 138.79278Coordinates: 35°37′16″N 138°47′34″E / 35.62111°N 138.79278°E / 35.62111; 138.79278
Status Reopened
Route E19 Expressway (Japan).png Chūō Expressway
Start Ōtsuki, Yamanashi
End Kōshū, Yamanashi
Opened 1977
Closed 2012 (temporary closure due to ceiling collapse)
Owner Central Nippon Expressway Company
Traffic Automobiles • Motorbikes

4.784 kilometres (2.973 mi) (Tokyo-bound)

4.717 kilometres (2.931 mi) (Nagoya-bound)
No. of lanes 2 uni-directional in each bore

The Sasago Tunnel (笹子トンネル, Sasago Tonneru) is a Japanese twin-bore motorway tunnel on the Chūō Expressway on the border of the cities of Kōshū and Ōtsuki in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.[1] It is located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) west of the capital Tokyo.[2][3] It was built in 1977.[4]

Ceiling collapse[edit]

At approximately 8 am on December 2, 2012, nearly 150 concrete ceiling panels inside the Tokyo-bound Sasago Tunnel collapsed, crushing three vehicles, including a van carrying six persons that caught fire.[4][5][6] The fallen panels were 20 centimetres (7.9 in) thick and weighed 1.2 tonnes (1.2 long tons; 1.3 short tons) each.[4][7] The caved-in point was 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the Tokyo-side exit and spanned a length of 50 to 60 metres (160 to 200 ft).[7] Smoke could be seen billowing from the Kōshū entrance to the tunnel.[8]

Nine people died and two were injured, making it the deadliest Japanese roadway accident in history. The tunnel was closed for a period of 27 days for repairs and removal of ceiling panels, before the south tube reopened on December 29.[6][9] The north tube, where the collapse happened, reopened on February 8, 2013.[10]

The nature of the collapse closely resembled a similar ceiling collapse in the Fort Point Channel Tunnel in Boston, Massachusetts in 2006.


  1. ^ 中央自動車道笹子トンネル天井板落下事故関連情報 [Information on Chuo Expressway Sasebo Tunnel Ceiling Panel Collapse] (in Japanese). Saitama, Saitama Prefecture, Japan: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Kanto Regional Development Bureau. 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  2. ^ "Japan Police: Motorway Tunnel Caves In". Sky News. 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  3. ^ "Cars trapped after Japanese tunnel collapse". CNN. 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  4. ^ a b c Martin Fackler (2 December 2012), Nine Killed When Highway Tunnel Collapses in Japan New York Times
  5. ^ 中央道・笹子トンネル内で崩落事故 車数台が巻き込まれる Archived 2012-12-03 at the Wayback Machine.(フジニュースネットワークニュース2012年12月02日11:04配信(配信日に閲覧))
  6. ^ a b "Nine dead in Japan tunnel collapse: reports". CTV News. 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  7. ^ a b Ozawa, Harumi (2 December 2012). "Seven trapped in Japan tunnel collapse". The Age. AFP. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Smoke is seen from the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway as Police officers gather in Koshu". Photo posted at AlertNet. 2012-12-02. Archived from the original on 2013-01-13. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  9. ^ "Japan orders tunnel inspections after Sasago collapse". BBC News. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  10. ^ "笹子トンネル 2か月ぶり全面開通へ". NHK News. 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2013-02-08. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Sasago Tunnel at Wikimedia Commons