December 28, 2006 09:26
A 500 m long and 27 m wide public area named Gwanghwamun Plaza will be established in the middle of Sejongro Street in downtown Seoul by the end of 2008. The number of traffic lanes will be cut from the current 16 to 10 under a Seoul City plan to create the plaza as an adjunct to the Gwanghwamun restoration project carried out by the Cultural Heritage Administration, to be complete at the end of 2009. The restoration project will return the historic gate to its original site 14.5m to the south and 10.9 m to the west and turn it 5.6 degrees clockwise.
The statue of Admiral Yi Sun-shin, a landmark on Sejongro Street, will stay where it is, but the statue of King Sejong will be moved near the Sejong Cener for the Performing Arts. The government also plans to build four new pedestrian bridges for better access to the plaza. They will connect the Sejong Center with the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications, Government Office with Gwanghwamun Plaza, Gyeongbok Palace with Government Office, and the palace with the plaza.
Yoo Hong-joon, an administrator with the Cultural Heritage Administration, said projects to beautify Gwanghwamun, fully open Bukak Mountain to the public and renovation of Seoul Barracks would lay the foundation to put the city on UNESCO’s historic city list.
Critics warn of more severe traffic congestion around Sejongro Street due to fewer traffic lanes. To prevent traffic jams, the city government plans to encourage drivers to avoid Sejongro.
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