By the end of this year, Seoul Metropolitan Government will begin construction on the Seobu Underground Expressway, which will involve moving a 10.33-kilometer-long section of the four-lane expressway running from the southern end of Seongsandaegyo (Bridge) to Geumcheon IC underground.
To be built at a depth of about 80 meters, the Seobu Underground Expressway has been specially designed to ensure the convenience of drivers of compact cars throughout the entire length of the tunnel. Slated for completion by the end of 2020, the underground expressway will be equipped with five emergency exits, two air purification facilities, and one underground operations center.
Once the Seobu Underground Expressway is complete, work will also be carried out on the original Seobu Expressway, providing drivers with improved accessibility to the surrounding areas. In particular, the expressway will be narrowed to allow much more efficient use of space, which is expected to invigorate the local economy in the southwestern part of Seoul and improve the living environment for the residents of the area. By reducing the width of the expressway by more than five meters—from approximately 20 to 30 meters down to 15 meters—Seoul Metropolitan Government will secure eco-friendly spaces for pedestrians and turn the area into a resident-friendly space where people can come together to enjoy nature and cultural activities and events.
Seoul Metropolitan Government also expects the construction of the underground expressway to reduce the travel time from the southern end of Seongsandaegyo (Bridge) to Geumcheon IC by about 20 minutes, bringing it down from the 30-minute range to somewhere in the 10-minute range. The speed limit for the underground expressway will be 80 kilometers per hour.
Speaking about the project, Mayor Park Won Soon said, “I expect the Seobu Underground Expressway to serve as a catalyst for achieving balanced development in the southwestern part of Seoul, an area that has been at the heart of Korea’s economic revival with its manufacturing-based industrial complexes.” He went on to say, “After moving the Seobu Expressway underground, we will do our best to use the extra space to create a people-centered area with the goal of improving the living environment for local residents.”