Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Building Korea's first expressways, 1968-70

My latest article for the Korea Times is about the building of Korea's first expressways (between Seoul and Incheon and Seoul and Busan) between 1968 and 1970, as well as some of the side effects the expressway created.  

After watching Adam Curtis' new documentary explaining how we reached a point where politicians lack of any kind vision for the future, I'll admit to being impressed by Park Chung-hee's rhetoric that advanced the belief that Koreans could build a strong, successful country (which, as Carter Eckert noted, even Kim Dae-jung conceded had helped instill confidence in people).

One thing I couldn't help but notice was the fact that the first two expressways, from Seoul to Incheon and Busan, echoed the first two railways in Korea... from Seoul to Incheon and Busan.

Below are a few more photos I came across that didn't make it into the article.

Seoul-Incheon Expressway under construction, May 19, 1968.

One highway I didn't cover was the Samil Elevated Expressway, which opened March 22, 1969 and ran above Cheonggyecheon from Myeong-dong to Sinseol-dong in its first section.

This was the Sinseol-dong end of the expressway.

July 7, 1970 ad for buses that would travel on the newly-completed expressway to Busan. That' interesting logo.

July 8, 1970 photo of crowds in Daegu celebrating the completion of the expressway.

July 7, 1970 photo of the 경부고속도로 순직자 위령탑, a monument to the workers who died.

August 23, 1970 cartoon published after a horrific bus accident killed 25 people.

The back cover of the September 9, 1970 issue of Weekly Kyonghyang, featuring a car ad for the Corona '70 showing the new expressway.

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