Good bye Ahyeon Overpass, Korea’s first elevated highway
The Ahyeon Overpass is the oldest elevated highway in Korea. Following its opening on September 19, 1968, the Ahyeon Overpass attracted many visitors, as one of Seoul’s leading landmarks. Until early 1982, when Korea was under curfew from midnight every night, the Ahyeon Overpass was blocked off with barricades. Since the early 2000s, however, the area near the overpass began to turn into a slum, and it was singled out as a major blight on the surrounding cityscape and an obstacle to communication. In response to the growing demand for the removal of the Ahyeon Overpass, Seoul City conducted a thorough safety inspection in 2011, in which the overpass received a grade of C (urgent repair required). In consideration of this and the social costs involved, such as the enormous cost of repairs and maintenance and the frequent traffic accidents caused by its outdated layout, it was decided, on March 26, 2014, that the Ahyeon Overpass would be dismantled completely. A central bus-only lane is slated to be installed after the completion of the demolition in September. As the Ahyeon Overpass is a symbol of the modernization of Korea, Seoul City plans to preserve the nameplate of the overpass and its signs in the Seoul Museum of History.