World’s Largest Seawall Complete

Work on the Saemangeum Seawall–the longest man-made dyke in the world–has officially been completed, South Korean officials announced on Tuesday.

Located on the southwestern coast of the Korean peninsula, the 21 mile seawall encloses approximately 160 square miles of seawater between the Yellow Sea and the Saemangeum estuary.

During a television broadcast announcing the completion of the dyke, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak called it “the largest-ever engineering project in this country” and added that it would “change the country’s landscape.”

The Saemangeum Seawall is part of an ongoing project that officials hope will help grow industry, tourism, and agricultural development over the next decade. Currently, more than 2.5 billion dollars have already been invested in the project, which was initiated in 1991 but was delayed on multiple occasions due to a lawsuit filed by environmentalists.

An estimated $19 trillion will be committed to the ongoing project over through 2020, according to AFP reporter Park Chan-Kyong, as the South Korean government looks to “reclaim land, build infrastructure and create giant freshwater reservoirs.”

“Saemangeum is a strategic point linking the Eurasian continent and the Pacific economic zone,” Lee said during his Tuesday speech, according to Yonhap News Agency, noting that it would also provide opportunity for “low-carbon and green growth.”

“We are now standing at the scene of a grand structure that will open South Korea’s future,” the President added. “But today’s completion of the seawall construction is not an end to the Saemangeum project we dream of. We have lots more things to do. In a sense, the real beginning is now.”

Up until the Saemangeum Seawall’s completion, the Netherlands’ Zuiderzee dyke was recognized as the world’s longest seawall. Zuiderzee dyke was completed in 1933.

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