The 26th Road Day was celebrated in a ceremony at the Construction Hall in southern Seoul on July 7 with some 650 dignitaries from the government, legislature and construction industry attending. Second Vice Minister of the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Maeng Seung-kyu and Rep. Cho Jeong-shik, chairman of the National Assembly Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee; and Chairman Kim Hak-song of Korea Road Association were among the dignitaries at the ceremony with the main theme of “Road Together with People Through Four Directions and Reaching Eight Areas.”
The event is meant to raise pride in the transportation infrastructure leading the economic growth of the country. Road Day was started on July 7, 1992, which was the opening day of the Seoul-Busan Expressway, the nation’s first major highway.
Vice MOLIT Minister Maeng, in his congratulatory speech, said it’s important to work on the national highways on such key matters as relieving congestion, strengthening public nature of highways, and safe road services, to name just a few. He also said the highways should be the base for the three-dimensional use of space, hi-tech roads mixed with autonomous driving, among the new values created, calling for cooperation from those related to such matters.
Rep. Cho thanked all those who are engaged in highway related works for their achievements through hard work, both at home and abroad, giving them high respect and appreciation.
The MOLIT Ministerial Award was presented to 60 people related to highway construction in recognition of their achievements, including firefighters who battled the Sangju Tunnel fire in October 2015; police officers who worked hard to direct traffic at the fire on Mt. Kangnung; and those who do exemplary jobs collecting toll fees at tollgates across the country, among others.
The Korea Road Association Award was given to President Nam In-hoe of the Sangju-Youngchon Highway Co., who was named the “Top Highway Man.”
National expressways in South Korea were originally numbered in order of construction. Since Aug. 24, 2001, they have been numbered in a scheme somewhat similar to that of the Interstate Highway System in the United States.
The icons of the South Korean Expressways are notably similar to those in the United States because they are shaped like U.S. Highway shields and colored like Interstate shields with red, white and blue, the colors of the flag of South Korea.
* Arterial routes are designated by two-digit numbers, with north-south routes having odd numbers, and east-west routes having even numbers. Primary routes (i.e. major thoroughfares) have 5 or 0 as their last digit, while secondary routes end in other digits.
* Branch routes have three-digit route numbers, where the first two digits match the route number of an arterial route.
* Belt lines have three-digit route numbers where the first digit matches the respective city's postal code.
* Route numbers in the range 70~99 are not used in South Korea; they are reserved for designations in the event of Korean reunification.
* The Gyeongbu Expressway kept its Route 1 designation, as it is South Korea's first and most important expressway
South Korea has a nationwide system of national highways officially called as General national highways, distinct from the expressways. The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and other government agencies administer the national highways.
A scene from the 26th Road Day ceremony on July 7 held at the Construction Hall in Seoul.(Photos: KRA)