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(LEAD) Guinness certifies Saemangeum as world's longest seawall

All Headlines 10:26 August 02, 2010

(ATTN: CORRECTS dateline)

Seoul, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) -- The Guinness World Records has certified South Korea's Saemangeum dike as the longest man-made sea barrier in the world, the government said Monday.

The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Guinness, the world's leading authority on record-breaking achievements, officially confirmed that the 33.9-kilometer-long seawall is 1.4 km longer than the dike at the Zuiderzee Works in the Netherlands.

The Saemangeum project that began in 1991 and was officially completed on April 27 links the port of Gunsan, 274 km southwest of Seoul, on the country's western coast with Byeonsan Peninsula. The dike has a four-lane highway that allows people to travel from Gunsan to Byeonsan by car in less than 30 minutes, compared to the previous drive of about 90 minutes.

The country spent 2.9 trillion won (US$2.5 billion) on construction and used 123 million cubic meters of earth to build the mammoth barrier. The work will help create 40.100 hectares of new land and a freshwater lake.

The ministry in charge of the reclamation project said the seawall is significant because it was built by Korean engineers in waters as deep as 54 meters. Existing dikes were generally built in shallow waters with depth not exceeding 20 meters.

Work is ongoing to reclaim and develop land from the tidal flats inside the dike, with the government hoping the formal recognition by Guinness would help Saemangeum attract more visitors and business investors.

Since April, on-site authorities said over 3.5 million people have visited the seawall with more likely to come as additional recreation-related infrastructure is built.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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