TOKYO INFRASTRUCTURE 020 Metropolitan Expressway


Many of the world’s big cities have two layers of transportation networks, ground and underground. Roads and railways are on the ground, and subways are underground. What is specific to Tokyo is that it is covered by third layer, elevated Metropolitan Expressway. The three “aorta” have an independent network and promote the dynamism of the city. Exciting urban space unknown only by looking at the map spreads out in front of us.

The ME was like a “bypass blood vessel” made in the heart of Tokyo where it was completely congested in the period of high economic growth. The intersections of the heavily congested city center were three-dimensionalized, and they were connected to the network in a ring or radial shape.

The plan was adopted in 1959. It is five years before the first Tokyo Olympic Games held. While completing the urgent procedure, in the zeal of rebuilding scorched earth completely bombed during World War II, they made use of public land such as roads, canals and rivers to reduce the construction period and cost as much as possible. Thus, the movement between Haneda Airport and the Yoyogi Olympic site, which originally took two hours by car, was shortened to about 30 minutes by the completion of the new “Olympic Road”.

Today, 97 thousand cars circulate the capital each day. Access between “successive three-dimensional intersection” and the road on the ground is secured at entrances every 1.8 km.

The ME, along Shinkansen and National Expressway, was a new horizon of infrastructure opened by Japanese engineers released from the occupation by the GHQ after the defeat in 1945. The pictures shown here convey well the enthusiasm of the times when people tried to extend this horizon as far as possible. (D.Kitagawa)



Type Highway
Location Tokyo metropolitan/Kanagawa prefecture/Saitama prefecture/Chiba prefecture
Scale extension 310.7 km
Opening year 1962
Administrator Metropolitan Expressway Co. Ltd.
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