December 15, 2015 10:47
The closure of a dilapidated flyover near Seoul Station that is to be turned into an urban park caused longer-than-usual commutes during rush hour on Monday.
Commuting time through the center of the capital took two or three times as long as before while cars and buses are taking detours.
Seoul city put up signs two weeks in advance suggesting alternative routes, but many ignored them and paid the price on the day.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has now promised to install more signs and posters informing drivers of alternative routes.
Seoul officials forecast that traffic flow will gradually return to normal once drivers get used to alternative routes. One city official said, "We expect drivers to adjust in about a week because cars now mostly have GPS."
But Kho Seung-young at Seoul National University pointed out that business in neighboring Namdaemun Market could suffer as traffic bypasses it and police are cracking down on illegal parking in the area.
The project is modeled on New York's hugely successful High Line, which transformed a disused stretch of elevated railroad into an urban park, but the conservative central government and police have repeatedly tried to throw a spanner in the works out of animus against the capital's leftwing mayor.
But the flyover is now such a safety risk that it had to be closed one way or the other.
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