Urban Infrastructure Vulnerable to Large Tremors

  • By Cha Hak-bong

    January 04, 2005 21:30

    It has been revealed that 60 percent of Korean buildings with more than six stories, and 27 percent of the nation's transportation facilities like roads and tunnels, were not designed in accordance with earthquake-proof measures, and would be pulverized by massive seismic tremors.

    According to a report on earthquake safety released Tuesday by the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, there are 97,784 buildings with more than six stories in Korea, and most of these are civilian structures. Only 35,442, or 36 percent, of these were built in ways that would curb the level of damage sustained from an earthquake.

    Concerning major transportation facilities such as bridges and tunnels, 7,115 out of 11,263, or 63 percent, are earthquake-proof. Of 22 subway lines, only six -- including the first stage of Seoul's Line No. 9 -- could withstand tremors of a high magnitude. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation, moving quickly to devise measures guarding against a repetition on home shores of the Southeast Asian tsunami disaster, has revised its building regulations.

    From April it will greatly expand the scope of those buildings that must adopt earthquake-proof plans, incorporating three-story-high structures and higher, and buildings that have over 1,000 square meters in floor space. Earthquake-resistant measures have already been made mandatory for buildings that take up more than 10,000 sq.m.

    It brought forward by five years the deadline by which 2,284 bridges that are not currently considered safe must be reinforced, moving the completion date from 2015 to 2010. Officials will conduct relevant safety evaluations from this year on the 16 subway lines that have yet to be made earthquake proof.

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