Incheon Bridge,to Be
Built with Private Investment
Korea's longest cable-stayed bridge scheduled to open in 2009
Incheon Bridge, the nation's longest cable-stayed bridge connecting Incheon International Airport and the international business district of New Songdo City, will be constructed with private investment led by a foreign company in Korea.
The construction started at the site of the planned Incheon Bridge on June 16 with dignitaries, including President Roh Moo-hyun, Deputy Prime Minister-Minister of Finance and Economy Han Duck-soo, and Minister of Construction and Transportation Choo Byung-jik, participating. AMEC CEO Peter Mason, British Trade Ambassador Brian Wilson and British Ambassador to Korea Warwick Morris were also present.
The bridge is scheduled to be open in October 2009 at a cost of 1.27 trillion won. The project is rated to be an example of Korea's first private project management business, supervised by a foreign company with the transparent selection of design and construction companies through a public bidding system.
For six years AMEC, an international leader in technical services and project management and currently a top-ranked UK construction company, successfully supervised the Incheon Bridge by overcoming cultural barriers and business style differences. The project has adopted an advanced private investment method - project management being separated from the construction company. Business managers maintain supervision during the construction period and professionally manage design and construction, design review, construction review and selection of an individual international project manager, while fast-tract construction method has been introduced for an early completion.
KODA Development, a joint venture between Britain-based AMEC and the city of Incheon, will finance and manage the project, while Samsung Joint Venture, a group of seven domestic builders, will take charge of the construction. Samsung, Daelim, Daewoo, Hanjin, Hanwha, Kumho and GS are partners in the group.
Once the construction is completed, KODA Development will manage the bridge for 30 years and later return the facility to the Korean government.
When the Incheon Bridge opens in 2009, it is expected to take 40 minutes less from southern Seoul or the south of the capital to reach Incheon International Airport, according to the Ministry of Construction and Transportation.
The 12.3 km-long, six-land 31.4 meter-wide Incheon Bridge will be composed of a cable-stayed bridge section, approach bridge sections and viaduct sections. The cable-stayed bridge, rated to the jewel of modern engineering technique, is designed to allow the navigation of 100,000-ton ships moving to and from the Incheon Port, the fifth longest in the world upon completion. The total navigable span of 1,360 meters exceeds the national harbor design standard of 563 meters and international general design standard of 550 metes. Design also went through the safety simulation verification, as well as an overseas expert panel assessment.
Drawing attention is the height of the main tower supports, which is 230.5 meters, similar to the height of the 63rd KLI Building on Yeouido. It is designed to endure a storm with velocity of 72 meters per second and earthquakes with a Richter degree of 7.
"As the expansion of Incheon International Airport and the first-stage development of the Incheon Free Economic Zone will have been completed at the time of the bridge? opening, this will provide further muscle to the government's policy of making the nation a logistics and business hub for Northeast Asia" the ministry said in a statement.
In another move to help advance Incheon as a regional hub, the government has designated the airport's approximately 2.1-square-kilometer logistics and cargo terminal areas as a free-trade zone and also announced plans to develop 330,000 square meters at the airport for commercial activities.
A ministry official said the future opening of the Incheon Bridge will help expedite development of the vicinity area of the Incheon International Airport.
AMEC CEO Peter Masion said, "Our effort since 1999 is a representation of the highest level of international achievement between a private company, AMEC and the Korean government. This construction project is the first private-participation infrastructure project led by an international company in Korea, and it presents an excellent case of both private investment and a truly transparent tender process" he said.
KODA CEO John Early said, "I am honored to participate in this historical event that begins construction of the 5th longest marine cable-stayed bridge in the world. It's a great symbol of Korea's dynamic people and strong economy"
In a related development, Kookmin Bank and the Industrial Bank of Korea, in charge of arranging the project financing for the construction of the bridge, signed an agreement on investing into the project at the Shilla Hotel on July 13. The two banks invested 164.6 billion won worth of owner's capital into KODA.
With the investments, each of the two Korean banks will have a 15 percent stake in KODA.
The two local banks succeeded in arranging a syndicated senior loan facility and subordinated loan facility for the projecting financing from AMEC, the Incheon Metropolitan City Government and Australia's Macquarie Bank. Incheon Bridge Investment Company (IBIC), an investment company on the Incheon Bridge project, established by Macquarie Bank formed a consortium with Kyobo Life Insurance, Koreas Life Insurance and Samsung Life Insurance to provide 782.7 billion in loans. nw
A deal on the 782.7 billion won Syndicated Senior Loan Facility & Subordinated Loan Facility on the Incheon Bridge Project was inked on July 13 in Seoul. From left are Shin Ji-ho, general manager of Korea Life Insurance,; Chung Yu-kyung, executive director of IBIC,; Bae Kyung-il, director & senior executive vice president of Industrial Bank of Korea,; Kang Chung-won, president-CEO of Kookmin Bank,; Ian Thomas, business development director of AMEC,; Kim Sang-jin, general manager of Kyobo Life Insurance,; and Cho Yong-ku, general manager of Samsung Life Insurance.
An artist conception shows a cable-stayed bridge
with an inverted Y-shape pylon structure,
the center of the planned Incheon Bridge. The Songdo Casting Yard (above inset ) produce such materials used for the construction as steel casting and PC houses. They are transported by barges from the yard to the construction site.
Map of the Incheon Bridge, now under construction