City Hall spends 3.1 million baht on beach sandbags to prevent beach erosion

Friday, 16 May 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 20 By  Warunya Thongrod

Beach vendors say, “We’ve already tired that”

Had anyone at city hall asked them, Pattaya beach vendors would have told city officials that they’re recycled plan to prevent beach erosion with giant sandbags was a waste of time.

After all, the vendors tried the same thing last year.

City-owned backhoes began arranging large sandbags at the entrance to Pattaya Beach at the intersection of Beach and Central Roads May 5. The 3.1 million baht in bags - each one 15 meters long, 4 meters wide and a meter thick - came across as a tacit admission by Pattaya officials that they’ve given up trying to fix the city’s endemic flooding problems, at least for now.

City-owned backhoes install large sandbags - each one 15 meters long, 4 meters wide and a meter thick - at the entrance to Pattaya Beach at the intersection of Beach and Central Roads. The 3.1 million baht project is another attempt by city officials to prevent beach erosion during the rainy season. City-owned backhoes install large sandbags - each one 15 meters long, 4 meters wide and a meter thick - at the entrance to Pattaya Beach at the intersection of Beach and Central Roads. The 3.1 million baht project is another attempt by city officials to prevent beach erosion during the rainy season.

Pattaya beach chair vendors laid their own sandbags on Beach Road last October, blocking off their sections of sand to prevent erosion. They quickly discovered the bags didn’t work, partially because gaps left between bags to allow tourist access let water through, and because the bags blocked the natural route for floodwaters to return to the sea, worsening damage on the other side.

“Solving flooding issues by laying big bags will not work since sand will be eroded in areas without the bags,” said vendor Naphatphee Wongsuwan. “Many tourists have asked me ‘what is Pattaya doing?’ since it will not work. The city should lay pipes instead for water to head directly into the sea or even dig pipes underneath the stairs or pump water directly to Pattaya’s reservoirs.”

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh said the bags are necessary to protect both the sand and the concrete walkways above it.Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh said the bags are necessary to protect both the sand and the concrete walkways above it.

The new bags are being installed at five spots along Beach Road - the Dusit Curve, Soi 6, Central Road, Central Festival Pattaya Beach and the old pier in South Pattaya - where water erupts from drains and pours down streets from higher ground, cutting huge gouges into the sand and exacerbating Pattaya Beach’s already critical erosion problem.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh said the bags are necessary to protect both the sand and the concrete walkways above it. Last year, erosion caused up to 50 meters of concrete at Soi 2 to sink.

“Big bags are being laid according to the Pattaya Beach restoration project to improve the landscape,” Ronakit said. “Last year, rain water washed away the sand, forming holes. Plus, the water caused concrete to sink.”

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