Korea’s aorta: Gyeongbu Expressway

In Korea, a half-drive day will get you anywhere. There are 51 highways in Korea as of 2019, and their combined length is more than 4,800 kilometers, which is why the country is so well-connected. In the image, you can see how closely connected the roadways are and how many there are in relation to the area’s size. Since its completion in 1970, Korea’s first highway, the Gyeongbu Expressway, sometimes known as the “aorta of Korea,” has sparked an exponential industrial boom. We shall explore the history of the Gyeongbu Expressway and how it influenced the growth of the Korean industry in this narrative.


Only 60,000 cars were in use in Korea in the year 1967, and the majority of people were oblivious of motorways. The idea of constructing a massive roadway was one that President Park Chung-hee, who was laying the groundwork for Korea’s prosperity, considered essential. So in 1967, he made the plan’s initial public announcement. But because of Korea’s dire financial circumstances at the time and widespread belief that the country couldn’t afford to build it, there was a lot of criticism. He nevertheless continued with the Gyeongbu Expressway’s construction.

The 428-kilometer Gyeongbu Expressway was finally finished in July 1970 after construction had started in February 1968. Despite having no prior experience with highway construction, Hyundai, the company in charge of building the highway, finished it quickly and for a relatively low cost of 43 billion won.

Gyeongbu Expressway and Industrial Development

With the completion of the Gyeongbu Expressway, Korea’s industrial expansion picked up its pace. Where the travel time from Seoul to Busan used to take 15 hours, was significantly reduced to less than five hours with the completion of the same. The smooth distribution of labor and supplies has been made feasible along with the reduced congestion because the transportation and the traffic that was previously centered on existing rails have been relocated to the center of road transportation. As a result of the highway’s ability to promote equitable development, Korea’s rapid economic growth got underway.

The expansion of the construction industry and the ensuing successfully built motorways were also influenced by the Gyeongbu Expressway’s successful completion. Highways that are easily accessible from everywhere have made travel incredibly convenient and have reduced the cost of moving products quickly, allowing for same-day deliveries with Gyeongbu Expressway being the centre of everything.


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