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Thứ Tư, tháng 7 13, 2005

No. 0407

Drilling finished for controversial mountain tunnel

July 14, 2005 ㅡ After a delay of two and a half years, caused by protests from Buddhist monks and environmental groups, drilling was completed yesterday for a controversial tunnel in the city of Uijoengbu. Delays in the project have held off the completion of a 127-kilometer (79-mile) beltway surrounding Seoul.
The 3.4-kilometer Sapae Tunnel goes through Mount Bukhan National Park. Buddhists had insisted that the tunnel construction would disturb their practice of their religion, while environmentalists argued that it would cause damage to the national park. Drilling began in 2001, but was stopped only five months later.
Yesterday, Sohn Hak-rae, president of the Korea Highway Corporation, executives from GS Engineering and Construction and government officials celebrated the completion of the drilling, which took a year and a half, excluding the postponement.
Buddhists carried out a two-hour religious service yesterday, praying that the construction would be completed without any accidents.
"[The service] bears the meaning of hoping the construction will be friendly to the environment, putting more weight on preserving nature," said the monk Venerable Jongmyeong.
Sapae Tunnel is part of a beltway circling Seoul, connecting satellite cities. It is expected to reduce traffic congestion in and around the capital. Most of the beltway, passing through Toegyewon, Pangyo, Pyeongchon and Ilsan, is already in use. Due to the protests, 36 kilometers, including the tunnel, have yet to be completed.
The tunnel is expected to shorten the drive from Ilsan to Toegyewon, northwest and northeast of Seoul, respectively, by about an hour. Previously, the trip lasted an hour and 30 minutes, when traffic had to pass through central Seoul.
The tunnel is expected to be finished in late 2007.

http://joongangdaily.joins.com/200507/13/200507132218089679900090409041.html