News of a traffic jam on the Cannesu Expressway, which connects Tokyo and Niigata prefectures, surfaced on Wednesday. Early Thursday morning, authorities closed the entrance to the highway to prevent a traffic jam.
Jam According to the country’s highway operator Nippon Expressway Company (Nexco), a car started after it got stuck in deep snow in the middle of the highway, slowing down traffic.
Heavy snowfall in the central and northern parts of the country that morning disrupted traffic and caused some communities to lose power.
Traffic on blocked highways; At its peak on Thursday night, the jam stretched for 15 kilometers (about 9.3 miles), Nexco told CNN. Parts of the long traffic line were able to grow slowly with start and stop, but some drivers remained stuck for more than 40 hours.
The jam continued until Friday; The lanes from Tokyo were finally cleared, but the lanes leading to the capital were still blocked. As of Friday afternoon, 1,000 cars were still seized.
Pictures of the highway show long lines of uninterrupted cars, many of them stuck in the snow above and around the snow-covered fields.
There was some limited relief on Thursday when emergency responders pulled out rice balls, bread, crackers, sweet snacks and 600 bottles of water, as well as thousands of liters of gasoline and diesel oil.
But that was not enough, the drivers spent many hours in the cold.
A 30-year-old man and a 60-year-old man were rushed to hospital from a jam on Thursday for respiratory problems and nausea, according to Niigata’s crisis management officer, Siyoshi Watanabe. No fatal or serious incidents have been reported so far.
Watanabe added that the prefecture had called on Japan’s self-defense forces on Friday to send water, food, petrol and portable toilets to those still trapped and to help clear the snow.
Nexco is also warning drivers on social media and radio to be careful about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning while waiting in cars for hours at a time.
Prime Minister Yoshihid Suga called on the ministers to discuss the heavy snowfall and urged local authorities to work together to restore services and help those affected.
The story was updated to show that the traffic jam started on Wednesday.