Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) plans to kick off major bridge and tunnel renovations on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line before its 50th anniversary next year.
The railroad will invest around ¥730 billion over 10 years to substantially extend the lifespan of the infrastructure, which was initially projected to last about 70 years.
By using new construction methods, the work can be done without suspending or slowing the trains, JR Tokai said.
Carbon dioxide has been eating away at the concrete in elevated bridges, raising concerns that chunks may start falling off. This would weaken the reinforcing steel in the bridges and their quake resistance overall.
JR Tokai plans to attach thin steel plates to the surface of the walls and support pillars to prevent erosion and improve strength.
It will also reinforce weld points in bridges and strengthen tunnels by injecting cement into wall and roof gaps.
Last year’s fatal ceiling collapse in the Sasago Tunnel in Yamanashi Prefecture underlined the need to overhaul Japan’s transport infrastructure.