SEJONG-- A ruling-party lawmaker tabled a motion to improve the maintenance of aging infrastructure, the transportation ministry said Sunday, following a major earthquake this week and growing concerns over its impact.
A magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit the southern port city of Pohang on Wednesday afternoon, with the tremors felt as far as Seoul, 360 kilometers away. It was the second-strongest earthquake recorded in the country, after last year's magnitude 5.8 jolt in nearby Gyeongju.
According to the bill proposed by Rep. Cho Jung-sik of Minjoo Party and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation, the government aims to improve the maintenance of infrastructure such as bridges, subways, and highways that were built mostly in the 1970s.
The bill aims to move away from social overhead capital (SOC) policies in the past and push forward major repairing projects to focus more on quality improvement, the ministry said.
"The SOCs that were built during industrialization more than 30 years ago cannot withstand strong quakes and pose safety issues," said Cho, noting that it is time to make investment before they get older.
The government will establish a maintenance and repair plan on SOC every five years and will conduct an overall evaluation, according to the bill.
The number of major public structures older than 30 years in the country came to 2,774 last year, accounting for 10.3 percent of the total, data showed. However, the ratio is forecast to increase up to 25.8 percent by 2026.
Source: Yonhap News Agency