12.4 km-long ‘phantom prefectural highway’ in Higashikawa opens for just one month

Oct. 17

A ‘phantom prefectural highway’, so called as it only opens for about one month during the year, exists in the town of Higashikawa in the Kamikawa region of northern Hokkaido. The road is a 12.4-km section of Prefectural Highway Route 1116 between the Chobochinai Gate and Higashikawa Kita 7-sen Gate. This year, the section opened until October 12, and the undulating route was taken by riders and drivers from throughout Hokkaido and beyond.

The section was first used in September 2012. In May of the following year, just before the road opened after it was closed or the winter period, road-surface abnormalities due to landslides were discovered in several locations, and the road only became passable again in September 2017 after safety was confirmed.

According to the Asahikawa Construction Management Department of the Kamikawa General Promotion Bureau, which manages prefectural highways, the road is only opened from early September to mid-October, when there is no rise in groundwater levels caused by melting snow, and therefore no risk of landslides. This year, the section of road opened on September 9. At an altitude of approximately 600 m, the section of road includes ‘Reiunbashi Bridge’, which affords views of the city of Asahikawa below, and where riders could be seen photographing the mountainsides on which the autumn leaves had begun to turn color.

Location

Chobochinai Gate

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