BANGKOK — A controversial plan to remake the Chao Phraya River will break ground in June, city officials announced Monday.

A design submitted by two universities contracted to do the work is expected to sail through the cabinet next month, clearing the way for the first phase of construction to begin seven months later under a five billion baht contract.

“We will begin the construction on the Thonburi side first, as the communities don’t oppose the project,” police Maj. Gen. Prasopchok Phrommoon, a member of the Bangkok Metropolitan Council, told Matichon.

It was nearly derailed in September when the design was slammed with accusations of plagiarism. The new design hasn’t been publicized.

The city’s Department of Public Works said 309 households were willing to relocate to public housing to pave the way for the construction of the landmark, a pet project of the military regime which has moved forward despite opposition and controversy.

The first 5 billion baht in funds will cover two work contracts, each covering three kilometers of work along the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya.

The process design and feasibility study of the boardwalks on both banks stretching seven kilometers of the arterial river was conducted by King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang and Khon Kaen University under a 120 million baht contract.

Billed as a promenade, the project was initiated by the junta as a river development project. Its ambitions have since grown to creating a national landmark complete with a museum and other facilities.

The design and process, however, have been criticized by architects and activists as ugly and not inclusive.

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