After a month’s delay, the rebuilding of Pattaya Beach is underway again with Mayor Anan Charoenchasri vowing the long-delayed project finally will be completed by August.
Restarted in early March following a 15-month suspension, the sand-refill project at the far northern end of Pattaya Beach was halted March 20 when the Marine Department decreed that the sand brought in from Koh Rang Kwian, a small island off Pattaya’s coast approximately 10 kilometers to the west of Koh Larn, didn’t match Pattaya’s beachfront well enough.
The entire project plan was sent back to consultants at Chulalongkorn University who twice before had recommended the wrong sand. This time, however, they maintain they made the right call.
Hauling of sand from Koh Rang Kwian has resumed with the stockpile stored in barges resting on landfill poured about a kilometer off shore. The sand then will be hauled in to the beach as needed.
The sand is darker than that native to Pattaya, but the consultants insisted that once it was spread on the beach, the sun would bleach it to a whiteness that matches Pattaya’s own sand within a few days. Contractors who have already placed the new sand on about 100 meters of the northernmost shoreline concur.
The project, budgeted in 2011 at 483-million-baht project before years of costly delays and restarts, calls for Pattaya Beach to be widened to 35 meters from north to south, with an extra 15 meters of sand added below the waterline.
Contractors also plan to install geotextile mesh reinforcements under the sand along the waterline designed to mitigate erosion.
Anan said contractors assured him the entire job can be completed within 120 days, or by the end of August at the latest.
Plans to rebuild Pattaya Beach began in 2011 when researchers from Chulalongkorn warned that the beach would disappear within five years if nothing was done to counter erosion. Yet despite the urgent warnings, funding for the project was repeatedly delayed.
Pattaya has sporadically performed stop-gap refill projects that only extended the beach’s life expectancy a few years.
In 2014, the lead consultant in Chulalongkorn’s Geology Department said that in 1952 Pattaya Beach covered 96,128 sq. meters and was, on average, 35.6 meters wide. By 2011, the beach had shrunk to as little as 3.5 meters. Today it is at most five meters wide.