Bridge Connecting Busan and Geoje Island Opens

The Geoga Grand Bridge linking the southern port city of Busan with Geoje Island opened on Monday, cutting travel time between Busan and Geoje Island to 50 minutes from the current two hours and 10 minutes. Construction began in December 2004 and the bridge cost W2.23 trillion (US$1=W1,147) to complete.

The actual bridge is 4.5 km long and is part of a 33.9 km stretch of highway encompassing a 3.7 km underwater tunnel and linkages on both Busan and Geoje Island spanning between 8.2 and 17.52 km. The cable-stayed bridge makes a diamond shape that blends with the seascape.

The underwater tunnel portion of the link runs 48 m below the surface of the water. It consists of several sections that were made on land and then submerged, making it Korea's first immersed tube tunnel. The bridge has cut the distance from Busan to Geoje Island from 140 km to just 60 km, which is expected to save more than W400 billion in logistical costs a year.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 14, 2010 13:39 KST