Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Project

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The Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Project is a system of bridges connecting the islands of Honshu and Shikoku across the Inland Sea of Japan, which were previously only connected by ferry. It consists of three major connections.

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Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway

Crossing Akashi Strait (ja. 明石海峡, Akashi-Kaikyō), this connection links Hyogo Prefecture on Honshu with Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku, using Awaji Island for most of its length. The route connects to the Sanyo Expressway at its northern terminus, allowing traffic to connect to Himeji, Kobe, and other major cities on Honshu.

This connection uses two suspension bridges. The more well-known of the two is the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, the world's longest suspension bridge, which connects Akashi to Awaji. The other bridge is the Onaruto Bridge, connecting Awaji to the city of Naruto across the Naruto whirlpool.

Although the connection was initially designed to accommodate railway service as well as road traffic, economic considerations turned it into a road connection only.

Seto-Chuo Expressway

Also known as the Seto-Ohashi Bridge, this line connects Okayama Prefecture to Kagawa Prefecture. A series of six bridges are used: these are the Shimotsui-Seto Bridge, Hitsuishijima Bridge, Iwakurojima Bridge, Yoshima Bridge, Kita Bisan-Seto Bridge, and Minami Bisan-Seto Bridge.

The Seto-Chuo bridges are also used by JR express trains, and are designed to accommodate high-speed Shinkansen service in the future, although there are no current plans to extend the Shinkansen to Shikoku.

Nishiseto Expressway

Commonly known as the Shimanami Kaido (しまなみ海道), this connection links Hiroshima Prefecture to Ehime Prefecture. The link consists of nine bridges: the Shin-Onomichi Bridge, Innoshima Bridge, Ikuchi Bridge, Tatara Bridge, Ohmishima Bridge, First Hakata-Oshima Bridge, Second Hakata-Oshima Bridge, First Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge, Second Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge, and Third Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge. It is the only route which can be crossed on bicycle or foot.

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