Seoul city begins renovation of landmark Gwanghwamun Square

SEOUL, The Seoul city government on Monday began renovation of its landmark Gwanghwamun Square, aiming to transform the busy intersection into a verdant public park.
Traffic lanes will be expanded on the east of the square, located in the capital’s central Jongno Ward and adjacent to the U.S. Embassy, while a park will replace the lanes to the west, in front of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, the city government said in a press release.
The finalized plan was announced in September after four years of consultations with citizens, residents and relevant government agencies.
On Monday, work began on the 10.1 billion won (US$9.1 million) project to increase the number of traffic lanes to the square’s east from five to between seven and nine.
Currently, traffic travels north along the east side of the square and south along the west side, but the new design will accommodate both directions on the east side.
Once road construction is completed by February next year, the city government said it plans to construct the park from May through October.
“Gwanghwamun Square, the heart of Seoul, will remove its gray colors and transform itself into a green center of ecological civilization,” acting Seoul Mayor Seo Jeong-hyup said in the release.
More than 100 species of trees and flowers will be planted in the park. Excavation work will also take place on both sides of the square to preserve any cultural assets.
To minimize disruptions to traffic flow, the city government said only one lane will be blocked at a time during the construction period.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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