South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak said that the opening of a grand bridge-undersea tunnel link in south-eastern part of the country is a milestone in the country’s construction history and that it will serve as a catalyst for the development of regional economy.

Lee was speaking during a ceremony on Monday to mark the end of the six-year construction of the link. The fix link connects South Korea’s second-largest city of Busan, 453 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and the Geoje Island, home to two of the country’s largest shipyards and many tourist attractions.

The 8.2-kilometer fixed link, dubbed “Geoga Bridge,” will cut travel hours between Busan and Geoje Island to around 50 minutes from the current two hours and 10 minutes, enabling South Korea to save as much as $ 350 million in fuel and other logistics costs a year.

The president described the fixed link as a “historic construction project,” as it involves a 3.7km undersea tunnel, the first of its kind in South Korea.

“The project included an immersed tunnel under part of the wild open sea, which is a remarkable feat illustrating Korea’s top-notch construction and engineering technology to people around the world,” Mr. Lee said in his televised congratulatory speech during the ceremony held on Geoje Island.

“This route will now serve as a great new boulevard for tourism encompassing the scenic national marine park in the South Sea and connecting Busan, Geoje and Tongyeong with Yeosu and Mokpo,” he added, numerating southern cities known for their picturesque landscapes.