The city of Seoul in South Korea has been quite aggressive in tearing down flyovers. Cheonggyecheon, an elevated highway, was constructed between 1967 and 1971. The 9.4-km elevated road catered to more than one lakh vehicles — mostly private cars — everyday. The government had spent $120 million in this project. The elevated road was, however, torn down in 2005 and replaced by a Boulevard Park.
The reason: The elevated road did not work as it witnessed regular jams. Tearing it down helped divert traffic to other roads and solved the problem of congestion.
North American cities such as San Francisco, Boston, Milwaukee, Trenton, Portland and Chattanooga, Vancouver and Toronto too had built elevated highways between 1950 and 1980 but later pulled them down to make more space for pedestrians. Melbourne and Auckland too have removed some of their flyovers.
Bristol too demolished its City Centre flyover in 1997. The city administration realised that the flyover was giving precedence to private cars and only causing chaos. Though the administration is now contemplating to rebuild the flyover, the new elevated road will be kept exclusively for cyclists. It has already being termed as ‘Cycle Path in the Sky’.
Over 30 years ago, Portland in North America made the decision to raze the Harbor Drive freeway and replace it with a 37-acre park, making it the first city in the United States to initiate the idea of freeway demolition. The Harbor Drive freeway connected an industrial neighbourhood, Lake Oswego and areas south of downtown Portland.
(Source: The life and death of urban highways)