Seoul to kick off overpass construction next month

Seoul to kick off overpass construction next month

Seoul City will kick off its plan to transform the outdated Seoul Station flyover to an elevated walkway from next month, 1 1/2 years after the city unveiled the urban restoration project dubbed Korea’s version of New York’s High Line Park, officials said.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said it would launch the reinforcement work first and turn the overpass into a green pedestrian park under Dutch architect Winy Mass’s design proposal themed “Seoul Arboretum.” In May last year, Mass was commissioned to change the overpass into a high-rise garden.

On the 1-kilometer-long section of the decades-old overpass, 17 pedestrian ways will be linked to seven regions around the overpass — including Seoul Station, Namdaemun Market, Hoehyeon Station and other neighboring buildings.

Along with 20 diverse public spaces, such as libraries and performance stages, four balconies will be constructed to allow visitors to enjoy the city view. Underfoot views will also be available through transparent glass floors at three spots.

Over 180 types of trees will be planted on the overpass.

The new park will be accessible from the ground through elevators, escalators, stairs and bridges.

To ensure public safety, the city will strengthen the floor plates with earthquake-proof materials and install 1.4-to 3-meter-high fences around the overpass.

“(The project) will not only restore the overpass, but also become a catalyst for revival and regeneration of neighboring regions through the high number of visitors,” Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said.

In 2012, Park pledged to transform the old overpass into a pedestrian park with an aim to boost neighboring markets and preserve the decades-old historic heritage.

The project, however, has faced resistance from local merchants nearby who feared sales damage, and from police citing traffic problems.

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