Expressway extension to displace some at Sasebo
April 6, 2005
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A number of base personnel living in Dragon Vale base housing face displacement and several units are slated for demolition in coming years as Japan constructs an expressway extension from the Nishi-Kyushu Expressway’s Sasebo Minato exit that will slice through the main base housing sector, according to base officials.
Before any housing demolition, officers affected will be relocated to Fiddler’s Green. And a new 44-unit mid-rise at the Hario Housing Village, about a 30-minute drive from the main facility, will house the other displaced residents.
Fiddler’s Green comprises eight buildings with 11 units and located in Sasebo’s Konpira district, said Takashi Isoguchi, an official with the Sasebo Road Construction Division. The area is near the boundary between the main base and Sasebo Heavy Industries ship refitting company, about 550 yards from the base, he added.
Demolition of some housing is expected to start in 2007 after relocation preparations are complete, stated Interim Housing Director Gail Benton in a written response.
The demolition plans target 29 units, including “all the T-units, plus housing units 543 and 544, plus the old Dragon Heights apartment complex which is currently empty,” Benton noted.
“Residents will be moved based on attrition first,” she stated. “As units become available at main base or Hario, relocation will occur. Those not moved by the time the new units are ready for occupancy, will be located into these units.”
She stated families have the option to relocate off base.
“If they elect this option, they will not be authorized priority assignment back to main base,” she noted. “Families will be offered one paid move due to having to relocate for the convenience of the government.”
The Nishi-Kyushu Expressway extends for about 92 miles from Fukuoka to Takao, connecting to the Nagasaki Expressway through Karatsu, Imari, Matsuura and Sasebo. The expressway extension project is planned for completion in 2009 or 2010, according to Isoguchi.
Parts of the construction — carried out by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation — already are under way. The Sasebo construction will extend the expressway through the city, tunnel 1.6 miles through Mount Yumihari and eventually reach Saza town, Isoguchi said.
“In return for the land and housing released, CFAS (Sasebo Naval Base) gained the land at Fiddlers Green and construction of Senior Officer Quarters,” stated Lt. Cmdr. Bret Blanton, officer in charge of Sasebo’s Public Works Department.
“Additionally, construction of [the] 44-unit mid-rise tower at Hario was tied to the release of land at Dragon Vale,” Blanton noted.
The construction of the 1.8-mile road from the current Sasebo-Minato Exit to the tentatively named Sasebo Interchange began in March 2003, Isoguchi said.
Hana Kusumoto and Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.