After more than 4000 days of construction and 400 million U.S. dollars in investment,
Boryeong Undersea Tunnel on the west coast of South Korea has finally opened to the public
making Chungcheongnam-do Province home to the fifth longest subsea car tunnel in the world.
"Where I'm standing is about five kilometers from the Boryeong end of the tunnel. This is its lowest point 80 meters below sea level."
A pair of tubes for traffic heading in opposite directions, the 6.9 kilometer tunnel stretches all the way from Daecheon Port to Wonsando Island.
5.2 kilometers, or 75 percent of the whole distance, is buried under the sea.
At its opening ceremony on Tuesday, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum congratulated locals on what he believes will transform the region.
"The people of Chungcheongnam-do Province have long awaited the age of the West Sea and I think it's finally here. The opening of the tunnel marks its beginning."
"For us, the tunnel's a blessing. With it, we hope Boryeong can become a relaxing resort destination where everyone can enjoy the beach and beautiful scenery."
Before the tunnel's construction, it took an hour and a half to drive from Boryeong City's Daecheon Beach to Taean-gun County's Yeongmok Port.
Now, the distance has been cut by 81 kilometers, turning that journey into a ten-minute drive.
Chungcheongnam-do Province hopes this can help take the region's tourist industry to new heights.
"The province is planning to invest over 7 billion dollars into 61 projects with the goal of attracting forty million tourists to the area in 2025."
The opening of Boryeong Undersea Tunnel completes National Route 77, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport expects this to greatly contribute to the smoother distribution of goods across the country.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News, Boryeong.