The public has been urged to exercise caution when visiting the recently refurbished Esplanade Seawall in George Town.
Mayor of Penang Island City Council (MBPP), Datuk Yew Tung Seang, said: “Beachfront locations will not be spared from extreme weather conditions.
“The MBPP hopes visitors will stay safe and enjoy the scenery while enjoying the old seawall which is part of Penang’s history.”
He added that signs would be put up to provide historical details.
On May 16, the lower terrace of the new Esplanade dike was temporarily closed following a high tide phenomenon.
Yew explained that the lower section of the terrace must be submerged in seawater during the full moon or better known as spring tide and high tide.
“This is not an unusual phenomenon as high tides are predicted for a cumulative total of 30 to 45 days a year, lasting a maximum of two to three hours each time.
“Since the lower part of the terrace was created for a specific purpose and the high tide phenomenon was indeed planned, there is no design flaw problem.
“The preparation and construction of the lower terrace took into account weather conditions, tidal phenomena and other factors.
“The drainage systems have been tested to withstand all weather conditions, including storms or unusual tides.
“Additionally, a staircase leading to the rock revetment is necessary to access the clean-up works, as the tide will carry waste to the shore, which will spoil the landscape of the area,” he said.
As a proactive measure, bilingual signs in English and Malay have been installed at the access doors to the lower terrace.
“Signs will indicate opening times and give warnings of any danger, including entry bans at high tide, heavy rain and high waves.
“In addition, the access door to the lower terrace will be closed in the event of unpredictable and violent weather conditions,” he said.
The newly renovated Esplanade Seawall, which opened on May 13, has a unique architectural design that includes a lower and upper walkway.
When the tide is at its highest, seawater flows through the slits along the parapet and floods 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 d direct access to the rock revetment which is exposed at low tide.
Yew said that in addition to strengthening the existing breakwater, the project took into account the very important elements of the conservation of George Town’s heritage as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
“This seawall area contains some of the oldest structures in George Town.
“The designed lower terrace in the tidal area has been specially created so that visitors can get close to the sea and see some of the remnants of the historic old seawall under normal weather conditions,” he said.