It narrows to the integrated 7 lane east of Sejong-daero… Gwanghwamun Square construction, proceeding as scheduled

From next month, Sejong-daero extending to both sides of Gwanghwamun Plaza will be integrated to the east. The construction of the first phase of the Gwanghwamun Plaza restructuring project initiated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government since November last year is in the final stage. Seoul City plans to create a park by attaching the closed west lane to the existing central plaza. However, there are still voices mixed with concerns, such as the possibility of intensifying traffic congestion as the width of the road from 10 to 12 lanes including variable lanes has narrowed to 7 to 9 lanes.

From 0 o’clock on March 6th… Seoul City, “No big traffic jam”

Construction to expand the road to the east of Gwanghwamun Square (in front of the U.S. Embassy in Korea) and the road to the west (in front of Sejong Center) as a plaza is in full swing. [연합뉴스]

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government on the 22nd, the down line from Gwanghwamun → Seoul City Hall will be closed from 0 p.m. on March 6. Instead, it expands the existing five-lane upbound east line (toward the US Embassy in Korea) to seven to nine lanes to integrate two-way lanes. Although the upbound line is wider, three lanes disappear when looking at Sejong-daero as a whole. The Seoul Metropolitan Government explained that “there was no significant change in the speed of vehicles passing through Sejong-daero during the construction period.”

In fact, the average speed of vehicles to Sejong-daero in the morning (7-9 o’clock) and afternoon (17-19 o’clock) last November, when the restructuring work began, was 21.1 km/h, but it also rose to 23.3 km/h last month. However, considering that the vehicle traffic itself has decreased by an average of 10,000 vehicles per month due to the third epidemic of the novel coronavirus infection (Corona 19) during the same period, there are concerns that the concern about vehicle congestion has not been completely resolved.

The city of Seoul plans to establish a left turn at Sajik-ro, an intersection near Sejong-daero, and secure as much detours to Saemunan-ro 3-gil, Sajik-ro 8-gil, and Jongno 1-gil. At the end of February, it was decided to establish a new two-way left turn between Sajik-ro 8-gil and Sajik-ro on the west side of Gwanghwamun Square. In addition, a vehicle heading to Anguk Station → Gwanghwamun turns left, making it possible to enter Jongno 1-gil behind the US Embassy in Korea. In addition, it plans to efficiently improve the signaling systems of nearby Jahamun-ro and Seosomun-ro.

Civic group lawsuit is’in progress’… Controversy about “Is it an emergency dispute?”

However, apart from the results, the conflict that he closed his ears to citizens’ disagreements in the process of promotion remains unsealed. The’civil society group calling for the cessation of the rapid restructuring of Gwanghwamun Square,’ consisting of nine civic groups including the Citizens’ Alliance for Economic Justice Practice (Gyeongsilyeon), has not withdrawn the lawsuit for confirming invalidity against Seoul in December. This is because the Seoul Metropolitan Government emphasized that “there were more than 300 communication processes”, but no opinions were reflected in the content.

On December 1 of last year, officials from the Gyeongsil Ryeon and Urban Solidarity are holding a press conference filing a lawsuit against violations of the Gwanghwamun Square Project-related Law at the Citizens’ Alliance for Economic Justice in Jongno-gu, Seoul. [뉴시스]

Previously, civic groups said, “Before the restructuring of Gwanghwamun Square, traffic demand should have been reduced in advance, such as the establishment of congested tolls.” I do”. Some criticizes that “they have paralyzed the function of the plaza as a venue for citizens to express opinions such as a rally due to the sinking of the Sewol ferry and a candlelight rally with the resignation of former President Park Geun-hye.”

Even in the political world, criticism came out saying that “it is not a matter of quarreling over fire.” Ahn Cheol-soo, head of the National Assembly Party, said, “I doubt whether drivers or citizens who use Gwanghwamun Street have properly conducted an in-depth survey. After the next mayor is elected, it is correct to listen to the opinions of citizens, urban planning experts, and the central government in the new system. I pointed out. However, Seoul is sticking to the position that the construction will be carried out as planned.

In the long term, Sejong-daero’s goal of “to make the entire square”

An imagination of Gwanghwamun Plaza after restructuring. [서울시]

According to the’Promotion (Plan) for Building a New Plaza,’ announced by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the construction of facilities will begin in earnest in May. A total of more than 7,000 trees, including 317 tall trees and 6700 short trees, will be planted, and a lawn of 2698m2 (approximately 816 pyeong) will be created. The Woldae in front of Gwanghwamun (the base in front of the palace) will be restored by 2023. In the long run, Seoul’s blueprint is to eliminate the eastern road and turn this area into a front square.

Ryu Hoon, head of the Urban Regeneration Office of Seoul, said, “The city of Seoul will do our best to maintain the speed of passage and minimize inconvenience to citizens in cooperation with the National Police Agency.” I will give it back to the citizens.”

Reporter Heo Jeong-won


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