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article imageIn Japan, a 'Bridge of Hope' will move a hill to raise a city

By Karen Graham     Mar 26, 2014 in Technology
The Japanese city of Rikuzentakata, in the Iwake prefecture, was inundated by the tsunami following the 9.0 earthquake in 2011. With the city in ruins, the local government decided to raise the level of their city to make it above sea level.
The central part of the city of Rikuzentakata is below sea level, and even though the city had a 6.5 meter high seawall, it was not enough to withstand the 13 meter high wave, and more than 80 percent of the 8,000 houses within the city were swept away.
Rikuzentakata City Hall after tsunami.
12 April 2011
Rikuzentakata City Hall after tsunami. 12 April 2011,
Daisuke TSUDA
With as many as 10,000 people still unaccounted for out of a population of 26,000, Rikuzentakata was literally wiped off the map, yet the spark of life was not snuffed out. On Monday, March 25, a ceremony was held, with 150 people in attendance, to open a project that will bring the city back to life.
The project is an effort to raise the central portion of the city 11 meters above sea level. Using a nearby hill, a huge conveyor belt will move 80 percent, or an estimated 7.85 million cubic meters of sand and soil to the area. If done using dump trucks, the work would take 10 years, but utilizing the conveyor belt to move 100 cubic meters of soil a minute, the work will be cut down to two years.
After a silent prayer, Mayor Futoshi Toba described to those in attendance the conveyor belt, saying it was a symbol of hope for reconstruction before he switched it on. Some parts of the massive conveyor belt stand 17 meters high, and on Monday was already 600 meters long.
There are pillars, reaching 42 meters in height at the suspension bridge portion of the conveyor. The suspension bridge part gave rise to a public contest to select a name for the bridge portion, and "Bridge of Hope" was the winner. The mayor says that by July, the conveyor belt should be around three kilometers long. The project should be completed by the year 2018.
More about earthquake and tsunami, Japan, conveyer belt, Iwate prefecture, Bridge of Hope
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