During a recent stay in Japan I was lucky enough to visit the construction site at Kurume, where a bridge is being built across the Chikugo River, as part of the route for the Kyushu Shinkansen, reports Jonathan Webb of Upmain.
The bridge is scheduled for completion in March 2006, but the engineers were quietly confident that the work would be finished well ahead of this. The first things that struck me during my visit was just how taller the new bridge will be compared to the adjacent line and also how the construction continued apace, despite a very busy golf course being in its shadow!
As part of the new route, a new station is also to be constructed at Kurume, next to the present structure which dates from 1890, less than 1 km away.
Running parallel to the existing Kagoshima main line, the new route when complete in 2013, will run for 249 km and connect Fukuaka with Kagoshima.The first part of the route from Shin-Yatsushiro to Kagoshima chuo, a distance of 126.1 km, was opened in March 2004.
Following the passing of the Shinkansen Development Law in 1970, in response to the publicís positive reaction to high speed rail travel, extending and new construction of the Shinkansen network has become much easier.