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インフラ老朽化 橋とトンネルの点検を着実に

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:13 pm, May 19, 2014
Safety inspections for antiquated bridges, tunnels urgently needed
インフラ老朽化 橋とトンネルの点検を着実に

Inspections of aging infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels are urgently needed to promptly work out and implement safety measures. This is a challenge that weighs heavily on local governments around the country.
 老朽化する橋やトンネルを点検し、迅速に安全対策を講じなくてはならない。全国の自治体にとって重い課題だ。

Effective from July, the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry will make it obligatory for bridges and tunnels under the administration of prefectural governments as well as those managed by city, town and village municipalities to receive safety checks every five years. Local governments are supposed to assess the safety of bridges and tunnels in four stages, and take countermeasures corresponding to the respective stages.
 国土交通省は7月から都道府県道や市町村道にある橋やトンネルを5年ごとに点検するよう、各自治体に義務付ける。自治体は橋やトンネルの安全性を4段階で自己評価し、レベルに応じた対策に取り組む。

If a structure is judged as being in a “state requiring emergency measures,” with impediments to its proper functions or having an extremely high possibility of impediments, the rules laid down by the ministry call for the local government concerned to carry out swift repairs and impose necessary traffic regulations.
 構造物の機能に支障が生じたり、その可能性が著しく高かったりする「緊急措置段階」と診断された場合は、迅速な修繕や通行規制を実施するルールだ。

Up to now, there have been no criteria of safety inspections common to all local governments, such as frequency of inspections and safety evaluation methods. The central government’s action is proper, as it is aimed at obliging local entities to carry out safety inspections and assessments uniformly to resolve the problem of decaying infrastructure.
 自治体には共通の点検基準がなく、検査の頻度や、安全性の評価方法はまちまちだった。政府が点検や安全診断を一律に自治体へ課し、老朽化対策を進めるのは妥当と言えよう。

What is problematic in this connection is that damage to and deterioration of infrastructure, or social overhead capital, such as bridges and tunnels, many of which were built during the period of rapid economic growth, will certainly worsen rapidly from now on.
 懸念されるのは、高度成長期に整備された橋やトンネルといったインフラ(社会資本)の損傷や劣化が今後、急速に進むことだ。

About 40 percent of bridges throughout the country and about 30 percent of tunnels will be more than 50 years old in 10 years from now.
 完成から50年以上が経過する施設は10年後、全国の橋で約4割、トンネルで約3割にも達する。

It should be noted that it is not the central government but local governments that are in charge of administering 90 percent of the nation’s 700,000 bridges and 70 percent of the 10,000 tunnels. Local entities must lose no time in buckling down to the task of dealing with aging infrastructure.
 特に自治体は、全国に約70万ある橋の9割、約1万に上るトンネルの7割を管理している。自治体の老朽化対策は待ったなしだ。

Scarcity of engineers

Infrastructure safety measures taken so far by local governments are inadequate.
 これまで自治体の安全対策は十分だったとは言い難い。

A fact-finding survey the ministry conducted in the wake of the collapse of part of the ceiling of the Sasago Tunnel of the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi Prefecture in December 2012 revealed that 30 percent of local governments with tunnels under their jurisdiction had never conducted a safety inspection of any tunnel before the Sasago Tunnel collapse.
 2012年12月に起きた中央自動車道・笹子トンネルでの天井板崩落事故を受けて、国交省が実態を調査したところ、事故後になって、初めてトンネルを点検した市町村は約3割に達した。

The reluctance of local governments to carry out repairs on aging infrastructure may be due to a shortage of funds and inadequate technical capabilities.
 多くの自治体が老朽化対策に消極的な背景には、予算や技術力が乏しい事情がうかがえる。

Therefore, the central government’s action simply to oblige local governments to conduct regular safety inspections and come up with safety evaluations may not produce the desired results.
 国が自治体に定期点検や安全性の評価を義務付けるだけでは、対策の効果は十分に上がるまい。

It is necessary for both the central government and local entities to redouble their efforts to secure sources of funds to deal with aging infrastructure and beef up collaboration with private-sector businesses.
 政府・自治体は、老朽化対策の財源確保や民間企業との連携強化に工夫を凝らす必要がある。

It may be inevitable to close down bridges and tunnels that have seen little use in depopulated areas to reduce the number of those to be inspected and repaired to cut expenditures.
 過疎化でほとんど利用されていない橋やトンネルは閉鎖して点検や修繕の対象を絞り込み、費用を抑制することもやむを得ない。

If a number of city, town and village governments got together in issuing contracts to repair aging infrastructure, they would be able to boost the efficiency in budgetary appropriations.
複数の市町村が企業に修繕を一括発注できれば、予算の効率的な執行に役立つだろう。

Meanwhile, local governments also suffer from a serious shortage of engineers to maintain and repair infrastructure. About 50 percent of the country’s town governments and 70 percent of village governments have no engineers capable of inspecting bridges.
 自治体の技術者不足も深刻だ。橋を点検できる職員のいない町は全国の5割、村は7割に上る。

Is it not possible for the central government and businesses to send engineers to local entities plagued by manpower shortages and have them carry out inspections and repairs on infrastructure that require a high level of skill?
 国や企業の技術者を人材難の自治体に派遣し、高度な技術を要する点検・修繕を代行させる仕組みが考えられないか。

Due consideration also should be given to training courses to improve the technical capabilities of local governments so they can carry out infrastructure maintenance and create an ability-based qualification system.
 自治体の技術力を高める研修を充実したり、資格制度を新設したりする方策も検討に値しよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 19, 2014)
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by kiyoshimat | 2014-05-21 07:00 | 英字新聞

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