Today in Transportation History – March 7, 2015: The Second-Longest Tunnel in the World is Opened

The final part of the Yamate Tunnel in Tokyo, Japan, was opened 13 years after work on the structure began. Nearly all of the deep underground tunnel, which has two lanes in each direction for vehicular traffic, lies beneath a street called Yamate Dori in Japan’s capital city. The Yamate Tunnel has become a key section of the Central Circular Route, which is part of the Shuto Expressway system serving the Greater Tokyo Area.

The section of the tunnel linking the Tokyo ward of Toshima with the city’s business district of Nishi-Shinjuku, along with an above-ground segment connecting the tunnel with the Kumanocho Interchange at the border between Toshima and a city ward named Itabashi, had been opened in 2007. The final section to be opened provides a link between the Tokyo neighborhood of Ohashi and a portion of the Shuto Expressway system known as the Bayshore Route.

Measuring just over 11 miles in length, the Yamate Tunnel is second only to Norway’s Lærdal Tunnel (approximately 15 miles in length) as the longest road tunnel in the world. The Yamate Tunnel does rank first as the longest road tunnel within a city.

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