NATIONAL

Seoul Station Overpass to be reborn as citizen’s park

By Shin Yong-bae
  • Published : Mar 27, 2017 - 20:33
  • Updated : Mar 28, 2017 - 14:58
The Seoul Station Overpass, once a driveway passing through the heart of Seoul, is set to transform into a brand-new citizen’s park.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said the newly renovated overpass will be open to the public on May 20. The structure comes with the new name “Seoullo 7017,” combining the year 1970 when it was first built and 2017 -- when it was remodeled to be a pedestrian-friendly road.

The overpass had been used as a major driveway connecting Mapo-gu, western Seoul, and Jung-gu, central Seoul, for 40 years. However, as it deteriorated in the 1990s, citizens strongly called for its removal. In 2006, a safety assessment classified the outdated overpass as dangerous.

In 2014, the city of Seoul came up with a basic plan to develop the road into a public park. The next year, it announced the “Seoul Station 7017 Project.”

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon plans to turn the 1.15-kilometer overpass into a rest area and tourist attraction. (Yonhap)

The city met with local residents and merchants more than 600 times to hear opinions on the renewal of the overpass. It also held an international design competition to receive proposals from the world’s leading designers. The final winner was a Dutch architect named Winy Maas, who put forward a design titled “Seoul Arboretum.”

Seoul finalized the design of the project early last year. It kicked off construction in earnest in March last year, repairing existing bridges and roofs and installing trails and landscape facilities.

The revamped overpass largely consists of a main and link roads connected to Toegye-ro and Malli-dong Square. A total of 17 newly built pedestrian walkways will lead citizens to major areas of Seoul, such as Yongsan-gu, Jung-gu, Namsan Park and Seoul Station.

Seoullo 7017 will be pedestrian-only for all sections, becoming the first car-free street to be constructed on a permanent basis in Seoul.

The city plans to designate the overpass as “special pedestrian zone,” covering the 1.7 square kilometer area in Malli-dong and Hoehyeon-dong near Seoul Station. The city plans to remove illegal advertisements and install facilities to slow down passing cars for those who want to walk in the area.

The city also expects the refurbished overpass will lead to urban regeneration in underdeveloped areas around Seoul Station.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said it aims to build a “walkable community” through the new overpass and surrounding infrastructure in a way that helps the people enjoy walking through all the major historical and cultural attractions. Seoullo 7017 is expected to help Seoul become a more pedestrian-friendly city.

By Byun Hee-jin (hjbandi9@heraldcorp.com)