Photo/IllutrationPedestrians cross a road where a large sinkhole was filled in near JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka on Nov. 15. (Masaru Komiyaji)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

FUKUOKA--Life returned to normal Nov. 15 on a section of a wide road that was swallowed by a 15-meter-deep sinkhole a week ago in front of JR Hakata Station here.

Work to fill in the sinkhole was completed before sunrise. Reinstalled traffic lights were switched on, and the section was reopened to traffic and pedestrians from 5 a.m.

“The restoration was finished much faster than I expected,” a pedestrian said just after 5 a.m.

Another expressed relief: “Now I don’t have to take the long way around anymore.”

Evacuation orders were lifted for the last three buildings that had been standing precariously beside the sinkhole, which measured 30 meters on each side. Retail shops and offices in the buildings started preparations to resume business.

The sinkhole on Nov. 8 was caused by work to extend a subway line beneath the five-lane city road.

Photos and video of the early morning incident showed traffic lights and huge chunks of asphalt plunging into the hole.

The Fukuoka city government poured earth mixed with cement into the sinkhole around the clock.

Underground infrastructure, including water, sewerage and gas pipes, as well as cables for electricity and other lifelines, was restored by Nov. 13.

The road reopening was initially scheduled for the night of Nov. 14, but it was pushed back because of rain.