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[dai-con01.gif] Great Hanshin Earthquake Restoration

Restoration from the earthquake disaster
- City planning based on the lessons learned from the disaster

     After the earthquake, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has worked in cooperation with the various organizations in the local region, Hyogo Prefecture, the various municipalities, ministries and agencies, to complete the reconstruction and restoration of the damaged infrastructure. Over a period of seven years, step by step, we have completed these restoration works and the region has regained its prior bustling atmosphere.
The Hanshin Expressway, where the elevated roadway collapsed over a distance of about 500 meters, photograph taken in January, 1995.
All lines open for service after about 1 year and 8 months
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The severely damaged embankment along the Yodo River, 1995
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Restoration completed after 1 year and 2 months, 1996
     Taking advantage of the lessons learned from the Great Hanshin Earthquake, the Kinki Regional Development Bureau is promoting city planning that provides for safety and peace of mind and the construction of earthquake resistant roads and structures. After the earthquake, studies on the design and construction of earthquake-resistant buildings held a high priority, as part of our efforts to achieve an earthquake-proof infrastructure. The national government has implemented revisions in its technical standards for elevated roads and also active in the deployment of reinforcement measures.
     Furthermore, during the response to the earthquake, emergency vehicles were caught in heavy congestion, which led to an increase in the number of deaths attributed to the earthquake. This led to the promotion of a emergency transportation network in cooperation with other related organizations. (Fig. 1.)
     A multitude of fires broke out immediately after the earthquake, and it was clear that those areas with trees lining the streets, wide open spaces and public parks or rivers were the only areas that managed to avoid the spread of the original fires (Fig. 2.). In an emergency, these areas can serve as temporary evacuation centers, and the construction of this type of urban environment, with open spaces such as roads or parks, etc., serving as highly effective firebreaks is essential for city planning effective in increasing the anti-earthquake quality of new urban construction. In contrast, judging from the fact that many of the old wooden houses were completely destroyed in the fires during the aftermath of the earthquake, we intend to continue to promote the reconstruction of housing and the use of fire-resistant construction materials.
     Now, after we have recovered from the hardships of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, and in order not to go through that again, we have reconfirmed the belief that it is our mission to make the most of the lessons learned from the earthquake in our city planning efforts.

Click here for reference material on the Great Hanshin Earthquake. 1.

Click here for more reference material on the Great Hanshin Earthquake. 2.
Figure 1. An illustration showing the development of an emergency transportation network

     The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport is promoting the construction of a nationwide emergency transportation network composed of roads that would play an important role as emergency transportation routes for rescue vehicles, fire fighting crews, and lifeline supplies during a disaster. Roads included in this network will be constructed, as will the buildings along the route, employing earthquake resistant technology, and they would employ river access roads, etc., to provide connections firefighting bases located in public parks, ports and harbors, and train stations, etc.

     "Michi-no-Eki" Born from the concept of improving the amenity of the highways, these rest areas function as data dissemination bases with information available on the historical, cultural and famous sites, and regional products in the local area. In addition to parking facilities they also provide a forum for contact with people who have put roots into the local community, the people who actually use the roads and facilities in each particular region. Thus, the Michi-no-Eki facilities are roadside rest stops that take full advantage of the local atmosphere and character.

Figure 2. Primary factors in effective fire spread prevention
Note: Study divisions include all of the large-scale fire-devastated sections in Kobe City, that is 21 fire-devastated sections.
Source: "Anti-earthquake Measures for the New Age" (Published in "Gyosei" and compiled by the Ministry of Construction, 1996)

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