The Ministry of Transport, Works, Urban Development and Local Government held a signing ceremony to officially launch the reconstruction of the Caratal Bridge located on the northeastern coastline of the island.
The Central Supplies and Tenders Board recently granted approval to award a contract to Bailey’s Contractors in the sum of EC$2,999,752.86 to rehabilitate the Caratal Bridge. The contract was signed between George Bailey of Bailey’s Construction and officials from the Ministry of Transport and Works on Friday.
Chief Engineer, Brent Bailey said the absence of the bridge affects approximately 3,000 persons living north of the Caratal River, since there is no other road where vehicles can have access to that part of the country.
Bailey stated that the bridge is 100 yards from the sea, and indicated that the variation in tidal activity is a reality that has been taken into consideration in the design of the bridge.
The chief engineer outlined that previous storms, including the Christmas Eve disaster, played a major role in compromising the integrity of the bridge. Bailey stated that the primary objectives are “to improve the capacity of the road’s infrastructure, to provide resilience to impacts of climate change, to increase the hydraulic capacity of the bridge, reduce the risk of blockage and provide protection to the river embankment.”
The chief engineer stated that the total span of the bridge will be increased by 17 meters wide, the height will also be increased, and gabion river defence will be applied, tripling the amount of water that can pass under the bridge.
Then Minister of Transport, Works, Urban Development and Local Government, Sen. Julian Francis emphasized the importance of proper design for sustainability.
Francis said he was pleased to see that the bridge was raised significantly and disclosed that this will have some implications on the roadway, highlighting that inevitably the road will be transformed.
Francis noted that naturally this change will affect properties on both sides of the road. He further stated that officials from the Ministry of Works will be in dialogue with residents who will be affected by the rehabilitation process of the Caratal bridge. Financing for this project is by way of a special loan facility from the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.