Reports of traffic jams on the Kanatsu Expressway connecting Tokyo and Niigata Prefecture began surfacing on Wednesday. By Thursday morning, officials had closed the highway entrance to reduce clogging.
jam According to the country’s highway operator Nippon Expressway Company (NEXCO), a car stopped in traffic after a car got stuck in a deep moat between the highways.
Central and northern regions of the country received heavy snowfall that morning, disrupting transit and causing some communities to lose power.
Traffic created on the stalled highway; At its peak on Thursday night, the jam spanned 15 kilometers (about 9.3 mi), Nexco told CNN. Some segments of the long traffic line were able to move slowly with start and stop, but some motorists remained stranded for more than 40 hours.
The jam continued from Friday; The streets from Tokyo eventually cleared up, but the streets leading to the capital were still stalled. As of Friday afternoon, 1,000 cars were still stuck.
Highway photos show long lines of cars, many of which are piles of snow between snow-covered fields and above and around their vehicles.
Some limited relief came on Thursday when emergency responders passed rice balls, bread, crackers, sweet snacks and 600 bottles of water, as well as thousands of liters of gasoline and diesel oil.
But this was not enough, the driver remained stranded for many more hours in the cold.
According to Tsoshi Watanabe, Niigata’s crisis management officer, a woman in her 30s and a man in her 60s was rushed from Jam to the hospital on Thursday for respiratory problems and nausea. No fatal or serious incidents have been reported so far.
Watanabe said the prefecture has dispatched to the Japan Self-Defense Forces to provide water, food, gasoline and portable restrooms, which are still stuck on Friday, and help clear snow.
NEXCO is also warning drivers through social media and radio to be wary of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning while waiting in their cars for hours at a time.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga held a meeting with ministers to discuss the heavy snowfall, asking local authorities to work together to restore services and help those affected.
The story was updated to indicate that the traffic jam began on Wednesday.