SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s longest undersea tunnel will open on the central western coast this week after 11 years of construction work, officials said Tuesday.
The 6.9-kilometer-long Boryeong Undersea Tunnel has been built to connect Daecheon Port in Boryeong, about 190 kilometers south of Seoul, with Wonsan Island in Taean County.
The new tunnel, which has four lanes located 55 meters below the sea floor and 80 meters below the sea level, will be formally open to traffic at 10 a.m. Wednesday, the officials said, adding the travel time between Boryeong and Taean will be reduced by 80 minutes to 10 minutes.
The tunnel has been built with government spending of 485.3 billion won (US$408 million) and there will be no toll, they noted.
The Boryeong tunnel is 1.5 km longer than the 5.46-km-long Incheon North Port Undersea Tunnel, west of Seoul, which is currently the longest underwater tunnel in South Korea.
Worldwide, the Boryeong tunnel is the fifth longest undersea tunnel for vehicle traffic after the Tokyo Bay Aqualine (9.5 km) in Japan, Bomlafjord Tunnel (7.8 km) in Norway and two other underwater tunnels in the European country.
If ground tunnels are included, the Boryeong tunnel is the nation’s third longest after the Seoul-Yangyang Expressway Inje-Yangyang Tunnel (10.96 km) and the Donghae Expressway Yangbuk 1 Tunnel (7.54 km).
Ahead of the formal opening of the tunnel, the government held an opening ceremony there Tuesday, which was attended by Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, South Chungcheong Province governor Yang Seung-jo and 200 other officials and residents.
“It has taken 11 years to build the Boryeong Undersea Tunnel and its connecting roads between Boryeong and Taean. I’m greatly impressed by the fact that there was not a single fatal accident during the over 4,000 days of construction,” Kim said, expressing hope the tunnel will further boost local tourism.