By: Lee Kyung-min

Seoul City will start remodeling the overpass next to Seoul Station next month to turn it into an elevated park.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) said Thursday that it gave public notice of a bid for the removal of some sections of the floor slabs as part of the remodeling for Seoul’s version of High Line Park in New York.

The company selected for the construction will start the removal work next month and complete it in April 2015. The city plans to spend 4.3 billion won on this part of the project.

The removal is part of Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon’s plan to turn the overpass into a rest area and tourist attraction by 2017 with a total budget of 38 billion won

According to the SMG plan revealed Monday, the city plans to construct a bridge using tempered glass to let the citizens stand on and look at the cars passing beneath them. Flower shops, drug stores, and museums will be set up nearby.

Residents and merchants have opposed the park project saying it would deteriorate the regional economy due to severe traffic jams it would cause without an alternative road.

The city said a safety inspection in 2012 showed the elevated roadway should be remodeled or demolished by December of this year.

“It was rated near the bottom in the safety evaluation. Some of the slabs have already been chipped off and it is dangerous for cars to use the road. We need to do something to the overpass immediately,” a city official said.

About the closure of the overpass and the city’s traffic control plan for a detour, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has thus far refused to approve the plan, saying it needs more discussion.

The official said the city would close the road and start construction, regardless of police approval. Earlier, SMG sought help from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport in obtaining police administrative support, but the ministry said that the matter should be resolved between the city and the police.

SOURCE: THE KOREA TIMES