Mie: 90-year Bascule Bridge Still in Use

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A freight train crosses Suehiro Bridge in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture.

YOKKAICHI, Mie — A bascule bridge that has been in service for more than 90 years in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, is a part of the area’s cultural heritage that the local government hopes to capitalize on. A bascule bridge is a movable bridge with one or more girders that can be raised and lowered.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Suehiro Bridge’s bascule is raised.

Said to be Japan’s oldest railway bascule bridge, the 58-meter-long, 4-meter-wide Suehiro Bridge was completed in 1931. Its 16-meter bascule is operated by cables suspended from a 16-meter-high iron tower. The bridge is lowered for freight train traffic up to five times a day, but is mostly kept in the raised position to allow ships to pass.

Suehiro Bridge was recognized as an Important Cultural Property by the government in 1998 for its historical value as a representation of Yokkaichi Port’s development.

The municipality has created a 6.7-kilometer walking route that visitors can follow to explore cultural sites and other points of interest around Yokkaichi Port, including the bridge.