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Thailand pushes dream of 'land bridge' to boost economy

Backers say it would cut shipping time by 2 days, but project faces backlash

Ranong Province is a candidate site for the proposed Thai land bridge. (Photo courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand)

BANGKOK -- The dream of a Thai land bridge, a transport route that would cross the Malay Peninsula to connect ports on either side, has surfaced again in Thailand. If it becomes a reality, a land bridge could cut shipping times by about two days, compared with the current shipping route through the Malacca Strait.

The idea of a trade route cutting across the peninsula dates back to the 17th century. Thailand's current government is looking to large public works projects to rejuvenate the economy. The proposed land bridge certainly qualifies, but the project has attracted criticism over huge cost and potential environmental damage.

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