3-km conveyor belt taken out of rotation in 3/11 disaster area

Dismantling work starts Oct. 14 on a giant conveyor belt that was used to transport soil for reconstruction work in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. (Yosuke Fukudome)

Dismantling work starts Oct. 14 on a giant conveyor belt that was used to transport soil for reconstruction work in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. (Yosuke Fukudome)

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  • Dismantling work starts Oct. 14 on a giant conveyor belt that was used to transport soil for reconstruction work in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. (Yosuke Fukudome)
October 15, 2015

By KAZUMASA SUGIMURA/ Staff Writer

RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Prefecture–A 20-meter-high conveyor belt that extends 3 kilometers over this tsunami-hit city is being dismantled after moving about 5.04 million square meters of soil for reconstruction work.

Work to tear down the huge apparatus started on Oct. 14 and is scheduled to be completed by next autumn.

The conveyor belt, commissioned by the city government and built by a joint venture that included general contractor Shimizu Corp., started operating in March 2014, about three years after the March 11 tsunami slammed into Rikuzentakata and destroyed much of the city.

The machine transported soil from the mountains to residential areas to elevate the land for protection against future tsunami. It completed its task in September.

A fleet of 10-ton trucks would have needed an estimated nine years to complete the same job.

The giant conveyor belt became a symbol of the region’s reconstruction efforts and drew curious onlookers to the city.

By KAZUMASA SUGIMURA/ Staff Writer
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