The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced the start of construction work for the renovation of the “relaxing and pedestrian-friendly” Gwanghwamun Square on Nov. 16, 2020. The blueprint has been settled based on over 300 sessions of discussion with citizens over the last four years. Construction will proceed in stages, starting with the expansion and maintenance of the eastern road of Gwanghwamun Square.
The western section (by Sejong Center for the Performing Arts) of Gwanghwamun Square will be incorporated by expanding the sidewalk. The eastern section (by the US Embassy) will be turned into a two-way road with seven to nine lanes.
The expanded square will become a “park-like square enjoyed in daily life” to satisfy the citizens’ wish for more greenspace. It will become a space full of scents of flowers and grass, filled with over 100 kinds of flowering trees that form a forest for four seasons and offer shade from the sun.
In order to prevent traffic and pedestrian inconvenience, the construction of the “new Gwanghwamun Square” will be conducted following two stages: ① expansion and maintenance of the eastern section (Nov. 2020 – Feb. 2021) and ② creation of a park-like square (May 2021 – Oct. 2021).
The first step is the road construction near the square. By Feb. 2021, the expansion and maintenance of the eastern section will be completed to have the traffic of the western section pass through the eastern section. The SMG will consider the stabilization of the flow of the traffic traveling in opposite directions on the eastern road to decide the time to block the western road.
Moreover, the joint project of “Restoration and Maintenance of Cultural Heritage, including the Woldae Stones of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Gwanghwamun Gate” by the Cultural Heritage Administration and the SMG, will be pursued in line with the changes of the square.