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Double-decked Gyeongbu Highway

Posted April. 09, 2015 07:51,   


“Faster, cheaper and stronger!” It was a slogan during the construction of the Gyeongbu Highway. The construction started on Feb. 1, 1968 and completed on July 7, 1970. Opposition parties strongly objected to a highway whose construction cost was estimated at around 40 billion won (46.65 million U.S. dollars) at a time when the government’s annual budget was 160 billion won (146.5 million dollars). The construction of the highway was former President Park Chung-hee’s presidential election pledge. After he re-elected in 1967, Park pushed for the construction plan and the 428-kilometer economic artery was created in 29 months.

As most Koreans did not own a car back then when the highway was constructed, it was impossible to imagine the current traffic volume. As new cities such as Pangyo and Dongtan were recently created on both sides of the Gyeongbu Highway and Sejong City was made along the way, the speed on the highway section between Osong and the Hannam Bridge in Seoul has been getting slower than ever. Some people are proposing new ideas of building a double-decked highway or an underground highway in the congested section of the highway in the Seoul metropolitan area.

“We could think of a second Gyeongbu Highway or a double-decked Gyeongbu Highway for the convenience of the people,” Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo told the first press conference on Monday as some reporters said Sejong City lacks infrastructure including traffic. The copyright of the “double-decked Gyeongbu Highway” is with Chung Ju-yung, the late Hyundai Group founder. The successful entrepreneur pledged that he would build a double-decked Gyeongbu Highway and offer apartments at a half price when he ran for the 1992 presidential election as the candidate of the Unification People Party. Not elected, he couldn`t prove his pledges.

It will be possible for Korea to build a second-floor highway on top of the existing highway. “We need to consider the national land plan and business aspects. He seems to have said that as an idea,” said a source from the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry. Building a double-decked highway that runs through the Gangnam district and the Seoul metropolitan area could a giant construction project. It remains to be seen how the residents of apartments surrounding the highway from the Hannam Bridge and the Yangjae Interchange would react. It is questionable whether Prime Minister Lee said it after much consideration.