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South Korean expressways

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very big map with the expressway system

South Korea is an interesting country when it comes to roads. The number shields are similar to those used in the United States and the expressway numbering is similar to that of the Interstate Highway system.

The country has about 48 million inhabitants of which 25 million live in the Seoul metropolitan area.

Thats neat, but there freeway system looks really grided south of Seoul to Busan, then there is almost no freeways just east of Busan.

The images of the freeways just outside of downtown Seoul (I believe), are really nice. I should go there one day..

Freeway map of Seoul:

the northern part of the ring road was completed in 2007.

Where's that massive toll plaza?
Given their heavy high tech industry, do they have or are they working on ETC?

You can definitely see the U.S. influence in the pictures.  (Probably as a result of the presence of the U.S. military being there since 1951!)

Many of those pictures, (without road signs or trucks) look like they could be here in the states as the cars are, not surprisingly similar.  (as the home of Hyundai)

That toll plaza is probably on Expressway 1, just south of Seoul. That road section carries 237,000 AADT.

Seoul is different than Tokyo, although many people consider them similar cities. Both are dense, both are Asian and both have extensive public transportation. But Seoul has a far better road network. Tokyo is just a bunch of 4-lane double-decked expressways with insane tolls and perpetual congestion. Seoul has somewhat more and wider expressways. The beltway is 8 - 10 lanes all the way and both sides of the Han River feature an 8-lane expressway, that sums up to 16 east-west lanes through the city. Adding to that are two six-lane expressways through the city and around downtown.

Not that Seoul doesn't have congestion, it's a 24 million metropolitan area after all, but it's not as bad as other Asian cities like in India or China. The sheer number of bridges across the Han River is impressive too. There are over twenty road bridges crossing this wide river with 6 - 10 lanes each, often build on twin-spans. Add a bunch of railroad bridges to that, and the number of bridges tops 30. There is even a 4-span railroad bridge. Quite impressive. It's called the "Miracle on the Han River", which also refers to the economic growth between 1960 and today.


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