Construction of artificial reef on track

The city will soon get back its beach as the construction of an artificial reef structure on the northern side as part of the ongoing beach nourishment project is expected to be completed by March 2018.

The reef, coming up near the Chief Secretariat is funded by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, while the second reef will be funded by the Puducherry government. The reef was designed by NIOT as a baseline model, for the first time in the country, to ensure restoration of the sandy beach that once extended into the sea.

“The construction of the reef is progressing well and NIOT has been able to demonstrate and showcase its technology. At present, we are able to see 40 metres of the sandy beach. If everything goes as per plan, the natural equilibrium would be restored and the city would be able to have a wide beach,” Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Distinguished Scientist of Ministry of Earth Sciences, has said.

Speaking to The Hindu after inspecting the progress of the construction of the reef, Mr. Nayak said that the reef had been designed in such a way that sand coming from the south will be naturally bypassed to the north so that there is no impact on the northern part of the coast. The northern reef will be ready by March while the Puducherry Government has to take up construction of the southern reef, he said.

Scientist M.V. Ramanamoorthy said that a detailed analysis carried out by NIOT clearly indicated that sand was already moving towards the north. This will be maintained ever after completion of the reef so that there is no impact on the northern side.

When NIOT commenced the construction of the artificial reef there was no sand bypassing system for the first two or three months. However, the sand coming from the south naturally bypassed to the north from August, he said.

NIOT sources said that the construction of a working platform and the reef base for the artificial reef structure had already been completed. The steel plates for the caisson have arrived and the fabrication works will start in a week’s time.

Erosion prevention

The caisson will be lowered into the sea. It will reduce wave activity and allow sand to move freely towards the north and prevent erosion along the coastline.

Mr. Ramanamoorthy pointed out that the main idea behind the project was to show that the beach can be restored in an environmental-friendly manner. Dredging has to be taken up on a regular basis to ensure that the sandy beach is restored and the sand is bypassed to the north.

There has always been a hue and cry over erosion progressing towards the north.

This could be avoided if everything is implemented as designed by NIOT, he said.

Mr. Nayak accompanied by M. Baba, former Director of the National Center for Earth Science Studies (NCESS), Port Executive Engineer Rajendiran and also members from PondyCAN inspected the sand by-passing system and beach nourishment works.

The results that have been obtained till now clearly show that the restoration of the beach is taking place on the expected lines. The near shore, submerged reef is now expected to be complete early next year, according to PondyCAN.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 1:25:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/construction-of-artificial-reef-on-track/article19764149.ece

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