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A Richard Robertson/Facebook photo showing the Overland River in flood and the abutments for the Bailey bridges on Sept. 17, 2022.
A Richard Robertson/Facebook photo showing the Overland River in flood and the abutments for the Bailey bridges on Sept. 17, 2022.
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The abutments built for the two Bailey bridges to be erected in North Windward will be assessed as a result of the recent heavy rains.

The government said that the preliminary observations show that the height of one of the bridges will have to be increased.

“… the rainfall last weekend really gave its first baptism to the present foundations that are now being built for the Bailey bridges,” acting Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel told a press conference on Thursday.

“There was a lot of rain and there was a lot of debris and sand coming down in these rivers,” said Daniel, who is MP for North Leeward and lives in Sandy Bay.

He said that when he was travelling in the prime minister’s official vehicle, he asked the driver to stop in the “swale” at Noel River, which had already been cleared of the debris.

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“… the vehicle was level with the sediments that came down after the excavation was done,” he said, referring to the 2019 Toyota Prado SUV in which the prime minister travels.

“That, in itself, tells you the volume of material that came down in the river. And when you look eastward to the river itself, on the bottom side where the abutments are being placed, the sand was level with the top of the abutment,” Daniel said.

He said that if the Bailey bridge were already in place, “the bottom of that bridge would have been seriously impacted by water coming down.

“And so, the assessment that was to be done by the office of the chief engineer equally applies to ensuring that there can be further elevation of the abutment to ensure that there is far more space that you can have the water and sediments in a time like this when we have so much heavy rains that the passage can be much clearer for the water and sediments to go through,” Daniel said.

Meanwhile, speaking at the same press conference, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves said that the construction of the bridges falls within the ambit of the Volcano Eruption Emergency Project (VEEP), which is run by his ministry.

“And on the basis of Minister Daniel’s observation … I asked the VEEP team and the engineers to reassess the adequacy of the abutments related to their heights because if it is that we are building something that could get washed away we may need to go higher and that would require some additional engineering,” Gonsalves said.

He said any changes may slow down the construction of the bridges “but it makes sense, obviously, to get it right the first time”.

A Bailey bridge is also being constructed at Overland and Gonsalves said that the height of the abutments there seem to be in order, but that, too, will be reevaluated by the engineers.

“They will give us a sense … on whether or not the abutments are adequately height. Apparently they are fairly strong. It is not an issue of the abutments washing away.  The issue is whether or not they would have the bridge high enough to deal with a similar deluge going forward,” the finance minister said. 

2 replies on “Work on N. Windward Bailey bridges to be reviewed after recent rains”

  1. IS THIS DEJA VU, YET AGAIN? Lest we forget, “we have bin there before”. After all that bru-hahh when the Rabacca Bridge was first built (and painted red/white to remind us “they, the ULP Regime built it” even though allegedly it was donated by the cash-cow Taiwan/China). Within a couple rainy seasons the Dry River came down and washed it to hell away! Only to be rebuilt again with more ‘beg money’.
    Now, they are at it again in Overland and Noel River!
    After viewing the ariel photos posted on social media, I will say this; but firstly, please allow me to make a disclaimer right here… I am NOT a civil engineer and have absolutely no technical qualification or experience in the field of building bridges etc, so my two-cents observations/comments are subject to the readers’ dismissal…it’s your perogative if you so choose. However to me, a lay person, common-sense suggests TWO very important factors to be cosidered BEFORE we put the people in North Windward in more peril : (a)…that the bridge and abutments ought to be started at a considerably far distance from the edges of both sides of river and (b),.. contrary to earlier designs,the bridges should be in the shape of a HIGH ARCH in order to avoid the bombardment of materials washing down the mountain slopes. As evident in at Rabacca, I’d ask the technocrats this question, “Why build a bridge horizontally across a river, when the volume of water often become energized with massive boulders, lava material etc and rise exponentially during the critical rainy seasons”?
    OH yeah, I have a few more observations…Much alike our school infrastructure projects about the entire island, why are ‘we’ beginning these projects in the midst of the volatile rainy season? Does it take a rocket scientist to figure out the numerous delays that ‘bad weather’ undoubtedly will hinder completion of such projects? Or is it that another ulterior motive is involved, i.e..the cash-cow gave us money to burn, so why not waste and give away to our cronies? last thing! Do you remember some time aback in a very high profile case, the High Court Judge ‘trashed’ the questionable competency and ineptness of one of the ULP Government accolites/chief engineers featured in that Bigger-Bigs case, I seem to recall? Are we still relying on the same ‘expert’ to build Overland and Noel bridges? Is this not cronyism at work as the public suspect? I wonder if we would repeat these mistakes if it was truly ‘our’ money (which we don’t actually have), whether the government would lavishly spend it as they appear to be doing right now?
    …. Just another musing of a Concerned Citizen.

  2. Comedy of errors?.A proper assessment was not done in the first place lo and behold you just found out.No problem just start over.

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