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The “Express” In “Expressway” Remains Just a Dream

Posted July. 11, 2005 03:20,   


It turns out that 53 out of 318 sections of the nationwide expressways suffer from serious traffic jams.

The total length of the malfunctioning sections is 248.6 kilometers out of 2,690.2 kilometers, which is 2.5 times longer than a year ago.

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation revealed the situation in its report titled “2004 Expressway Service Evaluation,” submitted to representative Lee Nak-yeon (Democratic Party) of the Construction and Transportation Committee of the National Assembly.

10 Percent of Expressways Are Congested-

The ministry divided the 23 expressways in Korea into 318 sections (each section between two exits) and measured their traffic speed, time, comfort, and safety level.

Each section was rated from A to F: A represents smooth flow, B stable flow, C slightly instable flow due to increasing traffics, D instable flow, and F serious and chronic congestion.

According to the survey, 53 sections or 248.6 kilometers on 10 expressways, including Gyeongbu (Seoul-Busan), Namhae (Sunchon-Busan), West Coast (Incheon-Mokpo), Youngdong (Incheon-Gangneung), and Jung-ang (Busan-Chuncheon), were rated E or F.

Those which were rated F were 13 sections or 62.1 kilometers, including the section between Pangyo and Shingal on the Gyeongbu expressway and the section between North Suwon and East Suwon of the Youngdong expressway. The figure is almost double the seven sections or 31.2 kilometers given the grade of F in 2003.

Eleven expressways, including Gyeongbu, Ulsan, Youngdong, Gyeong-in (Seoul-Incheon), and Guma did not have a single section rated A.

Decreasing Road Maintenance Budget-

The ministry explained, “Traffic has increased due to the five-day work week system partly implemented last year, which deteriorated road conditions.”

The ministry is planning to expand the lanes on the E and F rated sections and build new roads.

However, this year’s budget allotted for expanding and constructing expressways is 2.3 trillion won, a decrease of 200 billion from last year.

One ministry official said, “As the government invests a lot of money on national roads to the effect of balanced provincial development, the budget for expressways has decreased.”

Rep. Lee commented, “When the expressways do not work well because of serious congestion or traffic accidents, it costs society an enormous amount,” adding, “Urgent measures are needed.”

Tae-Hun Hwang beetlez@donga.com