Banpo Bridge is an impressive double-deck bridge in the city of Seoul that connects the downtown districts of Seocho and Yongsan. It has come to be most notably recognized for a recent addition, the Banpo Bridge Fountain. The addition of this highly distinguishing characteristic has made this bridge over the Han River a very popular attraction. The fountains light up and even ‘dance’ while being lit from underneath the bridge. People traveling by car through the under portion of the bridge get the feeling that they are driving through a waterfall, while those overhead on Banpo Bridge can peak over the side and see the marvelous waterfalls shooting into the Han River. It is an eco-friendly project as well, as the water for the fountain is taken from the river below.
To get a clear understanding of exactly how the bridge operates, it is important to note that Banpo Bridge is what is known as a girder bridge, and it sits on top of Jamsu Bridge, the two together forming the doubled decker bridge. The latter has the ability to be submerged when water levels rise and traffic can be redirected to the upper level of the bridge. The Banpo Bridge Fountain has been submitted for yet another South Korean world record to the folks at Guinness as the longest such fountain of its kind.
The fountain stretches on both sides of the bridge for over 1,140 meters, about 3,740 feet. The awesome design employs the use of over 10,000 energy efficient LED lights that make the nighttime viewing of the Banpo Bridge Fountain even more impressive. The overall scene when the bridge and the waterfall are lit up is especially beautiful at night when contrasted against the backdrop of the city and other major attractions such as the N Seoul Tower. Ban Bridge Seoul has become one of the most distinguishing features of this part of the city.
Final construction on the addition of the Banpo Bridge Fountain was completed in 2009 and is a part of an overall, 30-year effort by the South Korean government to make more efficient use of the areas around the Han River Park system. The decision to add this impressive feature to the bridge over the Han River is to make this area of Seoul a more appealing and aesthetically attractive environment for both residents and people visiting from outside the country. The South Korean government has been extremely pleased with the outcome of the project, as the bridge has become an increasingly popular attraction for tourists.
Light shows and other varieties of water performances are staged everyday at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. If you are traveling by foot or on a bicycle, the best way to approach the bridge is from any of the Han River Park access points. The closest train station is the Express Bus Terminal stop. If you are planning a trip to Seoul, make it a point to visit or take a trip on the bridge over the Han River for a unique experience that you will not soon forget.
Image: Gu Gyobok (Flickr)