Massive wave deflector required for Ghadira beach extension

In an attempt to fast-track the project, Projects Malta initially wanted to commence the sand replenishment project before this summer even before the approval of the wave deflectors

Ghadira bay soon include a submerged wave deflector built over 20,000sq.m of seabed
Ghadira bay soon include a submerged wave deflector built over 20,000sq.m of seabed

The proposed 30-metre extension of Mellieha’s Ghadira beach will require extensive engineering works, including a submerged wave deflector built over 20,000sq.m of seabed, aimed at dissipating the power of incoming waves reaching the popular beach.

In view of the long-term alterations to the beach dynamics and wave and current patterns, the Environment and Resources Authority has asked Projects Malta to conduct a full Environment Impact Assessment.

In an attempt to fast-track the project, Projects Malta initially wanted to commence the sand replenishment project before this summer even before the approval of the wave deflectors, but the two aspects of the project will now be assessed concurrently.

A report by ERA also specifies that the proposed replacement of the existing road by a bridge – aimed at facilitating the recreation of sand dunes – will have to be addressed in a separate application.

The project will also require the creation of a submerged wave deflector constructed along the entire length of the beach and two groynes – a low wall – in front of the Seabank Resort area at the southern end of the bay.

The submerged wave deflector, dubbed a ‘toe’, which will be 15 to 20 metres wide, will take up a seabed surface area up to 20,000sq.m.

Read more: Projects Malta plans 40m extension to Mellieha’s Ghadira beach

The submerged toe will be constructed by placing one- to two-tonne boulders on the seabed, to dissipate incoming waves and current energy around the entire sandy beach.

In order to place such boulders immediately onto the underlying rock layer, 50,000cb.m of sediment will be dredged from this area.

If approved the project will extend the sandy beach shoreline over its entire length (1,000 metres) by 30 metres, therefore increasing the landwards sandy beach area by approximately 30,000 to 38,000sq.m.

80,000 cb.m of sand will be dredged from areas which are not inhabited by protected sea grasses. Subsequently the dredged material will be deposited to create a seaward extension of the sandy beach.

The development of this infrastructure will require the use of heavy equipment and machinery, a revised Project Development Statement confirms.

These will include the use of floating barges utilised for the transport of heavy machinery, a suction pump dredger and a sea floor excavator equipped with a rotary cutter for the excavation of the seabed.

According to a screening report by ERA, works concerning the road are being considered as “a distinct stand-alone project” and will be subject to additional studies after the approval of the first stage of the project. Birdlife has expressed concern that the construction of an elevated road may have a negative impact on the nature reserve.

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