P30-M for Manila baywalk reconstruction

KD Suarez

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A part of the damaged seawall along Roxas Boulevard, near the Rajah Sulayman Park.

MANILA, Philippines – Around P30 million will be allotted by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the reconstruction of the seawall, damaged by storm surges brought by typhoon Pedring (Nesat).

According to the DPWH, the damage to the seawall was due to changes in its design, mainly the steep slope of the wall towards the sea instead of a steady slope, which gave way during the storm surges.

President Aquino instructed the agency to investigate who made the modifications in the old design of the seawall.

At the moment, the DPWH is still studying possible designs for the seawall to make it stronger and able to withstand stronger waves. The Bureau of Design will base its designs on 50-year flood data and will take into consideration other effects of climate change, the department said.

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Design Adjustments

On Monday, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) presented a proposal for a double-layered seawall design to the DPWH. This design will have another seawall 10 meters offshore, connected to the mainland by bridges. 

The offshore seawall, the MMDA said, will be designed to withstand strong waves brought by storms.

The proposed seawall “will enhance public safety and address environmental concerns,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said in a statement released Monday, adding, the new structure will be “the first layer of defense from strong waves” during calamities.  

The DPWH said it will look into the MMDA’s proposal, taking into consideration budget and design issues.

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim previously said he wanted the baywalk reverted to its original, simpler design. He prefers the view of the famed Manila Bay sunsets to be the centerpiece of the area.

The decorative lights will be replaced by newer streetlights that can withstand strong winds, following a suggestion to Lim by Heritage Conservation Society chief Gemma Cruz-Araneta.

Help From Architects

Lim also pledged to aid the DPWH in the repair of the seawall, boosting funding and manpower. He added that the city government will ask Manila’s top architects for help in design and costing.

To keep the view of the bay unobstructed, Lim said the design of the new seawall should not be higher than its original 16-inch height.

At present, sandbags separate the sidewalks and benches from the sea, as a measure to protect people who have now gone back to the area to relax and watch the Manila Bay sunset.

The typhoon destroyed stretches of the seawall from the Rajah Sulayman Park area to the Manila Yacht Club and other structures along the popular tourist spot, dislodging the pavement tiles, concrete benches, streetlights, and statues.

After the typhoon, trash and debris from the damaged seawall were swept inland by the waves as far as the northbound lane of the boulevard.

The Public Works department, which supervises roadways designated as national roads, is spearheading the repair of the damaged waterfront. – Rappler.com

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