South Korean subways vulnerable to earthquakes

South Korean subways vulnerable to earthquakes

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Out of the four oldest subway lines in Seoul, over one third of the tracks are reportedly vulnerable to earthquakes. With this in mind, there are rising concerns in the country when it comes to public safety, especially after a recent subway crash.

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The representative for the ruling Saenuri Party, Lee No-keun said that 36 percent of Subway lines 1 to 4 in Seoul are not constructed with a design resistant to earthquakes. The total distance of the tracks is 147 kilometers, while the rest of the tracks can handle possible earthquake tremors. Lee went on to say that 87 percent of the tracks are in need of a quake-proof repair work. From 2005, subway tracks in the country were supposed to be built to withstand earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.7 to 6.3.

However, Subway lines 1 to 4 – which are operated by Seoul Metro – were not affected by the new rule, as the lines were built between 1971 and 1993. The four oldest subway lines are used by over 4 million passengers on a daily basis. Seoul Metropolitan Government initiated track renovation work in 2013, in an effort to ensure subway safety.

However, just 3.3 kilometers of the tracks have been upgraded, due to budget limitations. Seoul Metro and the city estimated that the renovation work would cost around 322 billion won.

Photo Credits: Business Korea