The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), based on the results of detailed investigations, is set to repair and replace by stages worn-out sewage pipelines, which are the main cause of road sinking. In addition, the new “Road Sinking Maintenance System” will be established, which uses big data to identify areas that are in danger of road sinking and take preventative measures. The system will be fully implemented in July 2016.
The SMG has been conducting detailed investigations since July 2015 in order to assess the present condition of worn-out sewage pipe lines. According to the investigation result conducted so far, 775 kilometers of sewage pipe lines will be subject to replacement and repair. A total of 111 kilometers of sewage pipe line, in which five major defects (collapse, rupture, damage, and perforation of pipeline, and infiltration) have been detected, will be the first repaired by 2019 through a municipal investment of 150 billion won.
In addition to replacing and repairing worn-out sewage pipe lines, the SMG will scientifically prevent road sinking by implementing a new “Road Sinking Maintenance System,” starting July 2016. The system uses big data such as information on holes, road sinking and subsidence, results of measures taken, etc. to formulate electronic maps. The efficiency of the system will be enhanced by linking the information of 21 types of underground facilities.
Using this system, the SMG plans to analyze the probability of road sinking in advance, and maintain the roads by classifying them into the following three classes: exploration class (requires periodic exploration of holes); observation class (areas where road sinking may occur in the future); safety class (areas with no danger of road sinking).
In addition, as a result of exploring the main roads by adopting the “hole exploration technique” from Japan, which possesses outstanding technical skills in the field of hole (empty space found under the road) exploration, 288 holes were discovered in 2014. In response, research is being currently conducted in cooperation with the SMG, Sejong University, and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute.
The rapid restoration of identified road sinking is as important as prevention. The SMG plans to continue operating and using the “Real-time Pothole Reporting System,” which requests taxi and bus drivers to immediately report by pressing a button in the vehicle when they discover potholes while driving, alerting emergency crews of the need to repair the road. Over the last two years, more than 18,000 potholes have been repaired through this reporting system.
On June 21, the SMG held a joint Underground Safety Policy Briefing Session with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to allow local governments around the country to see the benefits of a road sinking prevention system based on the “Road Sinking Maintenance System”, “Hole Exploration System”, and “Real-time Pothole Reporting System.” During the briefing session, the officers in charge of underground safety of the 17 local governments listened to the comprehensive countermeasures applied to the actual scenes, and rehearsed the entire process of searching for holes while riding in the ground exploration vehicle, determining the cause, and restoring the holes.
The SMG plans to reinforce the city safety system by cooperating with citizens, the central government, and domestic and foreign cities, based on the principle that 99% is only as good as 1% when it comes to safety.