High tide adds charm to seawall

At high tide, the lower walkway of the Esplanade is filled with seawater up to about 30cm, giving visitors a chance to soak their feet and even walk among little fish. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

THE public have been urged to be careful when visiting the newly upgraded Esplanade seawall in George Town.

Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said: “Seaside locations will not be spared extreme weather conditions.

“MBPP hopes visitors will stay safe and enjoy the scenery while appreciating the old seawall which is part of Penang’s history.”

He added that signboards would be put up to provide historical details.

On May 16, the lower terrace of the new Esplanade seawall was temporarily closed following a high tide phenomenon.

Yew explained that the lower terrace section was expected to be submerged in seawater during the full moon or better known as spring tide and during high tide.

“This is not an unusual phenomenon as high tides are predicted for a cumulative total of 30 to 45 days per year, lasting a maximum of two to three hours each time.

Yew (second from left) explaining the features of the seawall and walkway of the Esplanade.Yew (second from left) explaining the features of the seawall and walkway of the Esplanade.

“Given that the lower terrace section was created for a specific purpose and the high tide phenomenon was indeed forecast, there is no issue of design defects.

“The preparation work and construction of the lower terrace took into account the weather, tidal phenomena and other factors.

“Drainage systems have been tested to withstand all weather conditions, including unusual storms or tides.

“In addition, a stairway to the rock revetment is required for access to do clean-up works as the tide will carry rubbish to the shoreline which spoils the area’s scenery,” he said.

As a proactive measure, bilingual signs in English and Malay have been installed at the access gates to the lower terrace.

“The signs will state the operating hours and give warnings on any danger, including entry prohibitions during high tide, heavy rain and strong waves.

“In addition, the access door to the lower terrace will be closed in the event of unpredictable and severe weather,” he said.

The newly upgraded Esplanade seawall, which was opened on May 13, has a unique architectural design which features a lower and higher walkway.

When the tide is at its highest, seawater will flow in through slits along the parapet and flood the lower walkway up to about 30cm.Stretching 460m from the Medan Renong food court to the Royal Malaysian Navy Base, the walkways are now wider and terraced near the Cenotaph Memorial to allow people to get closer to the sea and directly access the rocky revetment that is exposed during low tide.

Yew said apart from strengthening the existing breakwater, the project took into account the very important elements of heritage conservation for George Town as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

“This seawall area contains some of the oldest structures of George Town.

“The lower terrace designed in the tidal zone has been specially created so that visitors can approach the sea and see some of the remnants of the historic old sea wall in normal weather conditions,” he said.

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Esplanade , seawall , George Town


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