The Yamate Tunnel (Bay Shore Route to Route 3 Shibuya Line) on the Central Circular Route of the Metropolitan Expressway in the Tokyo area opened on March 7, 2015, marking the completion of the Central Circular Route. This dispersed the excessive traffic concentrated in the city center, reducing the congestion on the Metropolitan Expressway by half in the city center section. Furthermore, the stock effect* from reduced travel times streamlines the distribution of goods and also has a ripple effect on regional social and economic activities. (*Stock effect: effect where the created social capital brings sustained benefits to the lives of citizens and economic activity) In the Kanagawa Prefecture, the Kanagawa Route 7 Yokohama Kita-Line (Kanagawa Route 1 Yokohane Line to Daisan Keihin Road) opened on March 18, 2017. This improved access to northern Yokohama (centered on Shin-Yokohama), as well as the Port of Yokohama and Haneda Airport, is expected to reduce travel times and ensure punctuality.
Major current initiatives
In the Tokyo area, the Route 10 Harumi Line is being built with the expectation of it functioning to direct traffic demand from the considerably developed Tokyo Waterfront section, Harumi, and Toyosu areas to the Expressway Bay Shore Route, as well as functioning as a bypass for the Expressway Route 9 Fukagawa Line and Route 11 Daiba Line connecting the city center and the Expressway Bay Shore Route. It is scheduled to open in 2017. Spots where congestion is expected are being dealt with and roads are being enhanced by expanding lanes in order to further demonstrate the effectiveness of the road network of the fully operational Central Circular Route. Click here for more details
In the Kanagawa area, the Yokohama Circular Northwest Route (Yokohama Aoba IC and JCT (tentative name) to Yokohama Kohoku JCT) is being built to both alleviate congestion on surrounding roads and connect Tomei Expressway, Shin-Yokohama (the hub of Yokohama), and Keihin Waterfront section by highway, to enhance inter-regional communication, and to make travel more convenient in the region. It is scheduled to aim to open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
In the Saitama area, work started in April 2017 on the National Highway 17 (Shin-Omiya Ageo Expressway (Yono to Ageominami)) toll road project, which will join with the existing Metropolitan Expressway network to improve traffic access in Tokyo center and the Saitama Chuo area, as well as reduce traffic accidents and alleviate congestion at the National Highway Route 17 Shin-Omiya Bypass. Partnering with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the project is aiming towards early completion.