Jump to content

133.5M Baht Seawall in Songkhla


Recommended Posts

About a month ago I went for my morning run/swim on the beach at U-Tapao Temple in Ranode, Songkhla, only to find the beach was gone -- and a new project underway.

 

After asking a few locals, I found the blue sign announcing the project all torn up and strewn over the sand with all the other plastic trash and garbage that mars what could otherwise be a pretty nice beach.

 

It turns out that the project is a seawall funded at 133,500,000 baht.

 

The obvious rationale is to stop beach erosion, and I know from a previous story I did [back when print media still existed] that the erosion has already moved the high tide mark in the area about 20-meters inland.

 

In fact, many of the old people who grew up in the area point out to sea when asked where they were born.

 

I always thought the erosion was mostly due to all the prawn farming in the area, which has totally ravaged the landscape. Officials said as much, but I guess global warning could be playing a role as well.

 

Anyway, I originally thought the project was just to save U-Tapao Temple, but now it appears that the entire beachfront of Ranode (from Paktrae north to the border in Huasai, Nakhon Sri Thammarat) is going to be walled in , affecting hundreds if not thousands of families. I still need to learn more and confirm if that will be the case, however.

 

Anyway, I know there aren't many posters living in this area, but I just wanted to document this since there is no mention of it anywhere in the media, Thai or foreign.

 

I will try to continue to update and add info as I learn about it, especially if this 'development' strikes any interest among other posters in this forum.

 

 

seawall.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow!

Well unless they root this wall on deep and strong foundations and then buttress with a lot of rock the sea will have its way sooner or later.

 

Will be interesting to see how they anchor the wall and protect it. But you'll be losing your beach for a sea wall.

 

From Google Earth you can see what happened to the previous sea defence along the coast to the north of the Huasai - it's sitting about 100m off the current coast line.

 

.

Edited by Stocky
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I finally found the office responsible for the project, and the irony is that it is located just a stone's throw away from my house, in the middle of Ranode Town.

 

There was only one administrator in the office, a nice girl who is from Klong Daen District in Ranode.

 

The construction company she works for is called Tak Bai Company, based out of Narathiwat. I am pretty sure it is the same company that has done similar (and ineffective) anti-erosion projects along Samila Beach in Songkhla.

 

She assured me that the project design took into account with the local drainage network into the sea.

 

We had catastrophic flooding in Ranode for two years in a row (2016 & 2017) when they were widening Rt 408 to be a four-lane highway, which also served as a major barrier to flow that was responsible for untold millions in flood damages.

 

She told me that the project designers were well aware of this and had taken it into the design.

 

I also asked if there would be access to the sea for crazy people like me, the only recreational sea swimmer I know of in Ranode. She said there would be both stairways as well as boat ramps, but she couldn't give the exact locations.

 

In brief, the project will consist of a huge 500-meter seawall made of rock and polyeurethane (there was probably enough plastic garbage on the beach before they started to dig it up to build the entire thing) ..she said the polyeurethane was to provide some elasticity so that the stones wouldn't be eroded so quickly by the monsoon waves smashing them into one another.

 

This segment (see pic in initial post)  will start at the access road to the beach that you get to straight from the Pak Tre 4-way intersection on Rt408 and stretch north, near the border of U-Tapao Temple...continuing north of that there will be smaller, less-conspicuous "sheet pile"  seawall for a stretch of 300 more meters.

 

She said there hadn't been any resistance to the project among the locals. This is hardly surprising since the high-tide mark in this area is about 20 meters inland from where it used to be about 70 years ago, according to elderly local residents. Landowners are obviously down with any attempts to protect their properties,

 

I did a story on this topic once before and officials in the area at the time told me they thought the main cause of the coastal erosion was poor land use management and not global warming. I can attest that all the shrimp farming in the area has ravaged the landscape, which as Stocky correctly pointed out, was underwater back in the colonial period.

 

The completion date for the project was initially set for Sept. 15, 2019, after which time the Tak Bai Company was set to face fines of 133,500 baht/day for non-completion.

 

However, the government gave them a 77-day period after tropical storm Pabuk blew threw here in January. (Personally I think that 'storm' was the most over-hyped, blowhard 'weather emergency'  I have ever witnessed and when it came through here the winds were actually off the land.)

 

Anyway, she said they hoped to complete the project in about two months, although it is obviously going to be more difficult with the onset of the west-moving winds of the monsoon reversal that kicked in last week.

 

Time will tell.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If these are the same comedians that have been buggering around with Samila Beach the last few years, the chances of them being finished with your wall in two months is vanishingly small!

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Stocky said:

If these are the same comedians that have been buggering around with Samila Beach the last few years, the chances of them being finished with your wall in two months is vanishingly small!

Perhaps it's more 'efficient' than paying someone to dig a hole and fill it in again -- because the hole gets filled back  in for free (and with 'interest').

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I went for a walk along the new seawall a few days ago and talked to some locals about it. The main segment in front of the temple is already being affected by the monsoon surf, but the takeaway from talking to the locals is that the 'sheet pile' segment which runs from the north end of the wall (see pix) is set to run a length of about four kilometers up the coast.

 

I have yet to ask the Tak Bai Company about it; I assume it's construction is under a different contract that the one they are working under.

 

Anyway, I met some workers who were installing it and they told me the concrete piles are about .45 meters long, so I don't really think there will be much of them left at the end of the monsoon season since they don't appear to be buttressed by anything other than  shifting sands...which are no doubt going to get a lot shiftier when the monsoon winds inevitably start to roar.

 

I talked to a few locals and they said the project did not restrict their boat access to the sea and that their they had been taken into consideration.

 

It was low tide when I took the attached photos, but seawater was already lapping up against the wall in places. Who know, maybe it will serve as an artificial reef at some point in the future....

20191007_173129.jpg

20191007_173213.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Here are some pix of the finished product I took about an hour after high tide yesterday. From the south, there is one section made of big stones running from the klong to the temple grounds, then another section of stones held together by some sort of plastic emulsion in front of the temple -- the likes of which I have never seen before. Needless to say the entire thing looks horrible up close, and will probably look terrible in time when it starts to erode.

 

It's obviously now too dangerous to swim there this time of year, as all easy access has been blocked.

20191205_152303.jpg

20191205_151804.jpg

20191205_152238.jpg

  • Like 2
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Stocky said:

They covered it in tarmac! 

 

You think they'll landscape and clean up before they pack up and go?

It's not normal tarmac; I've never seen anything like it to be honest. There is still a lot of equipment at the sight, but no activity in terms of landscaping...

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, phuketsub said:

It's not normal tarmac; I've never seen anything like it to be honest.

It's not the rubberised tarmac the government has been touting as a solution to the low rubber prices? Would make some sense in that it would absorb a little of the impact from the waves.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/7/2019 at 9:57 AM, Stocky said:

It's not the rubberised tarmac the government has been touting as a solution to the low rubber prices? Would make some sense in that it would absorb a little of the impact from the waves.

Hmm...that's interesting. I wasn't ware of that, but I'll try to look into it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I was in Songkhla Town in the lead-up to the New Years and was stunned not only by how many tourists there were, but also by how much they had extended the once-eroded strand back into the the sea by backfilling. There were hundreds of pickups parked out there as well, which leads me to believe that the concept of dune formation and beach fauna playing a role in erosion prevention has not quote caught on here...I didn't get any photos, but will try to find some next time I am down there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's always been popular at weekends and public holidays for Thai families as a good day out, but it's become a popular destination for Malaysians too. The last few trips we've made I've noted the increasing number of Malaysian families. Thai families are usually found picnicking under the Casuarina trees along the beach front; the town's cleaners do great job of clearing up after them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Stocky said:

It's always been popular at weekends and public holidays for Thai families as a good day out, but it's become a popular destination for Malaysians too. The last few trips we've made I've noted the increasing number of Malaysian families. Thai families are usually found picnicking under the Casuarina trees along the beach front; the town's cleaners do great job of clearing up after them.

I used to walk the length of it just about every afternoon as the sun was setting...the amount of garbage left behind was always stunning. Half-eaten meals, diapers filled with excrement, used syringes -- you name it, it would be left behind.

 

The other drawback was constantly being accosted by schoolkids who were assigned to 'interview a foreigner'...I wouldn't mind once in a while, but there are so many schools in that town it used to get overwhelming. Anyway, Happy New Year Stocky!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...