Byera Tunnel under renovation
May 21, 2004
Byera Tunnel under renovation

The Byera tunnel, which connects the northernmost section of the mainland, is undergoing a major renovation.
This “undermine” as it is popularly called is one of the oldest tunnels in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, built 191 years ago by slave labour. {{more}}
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves announced Monday that work would commence on the tunnel, which is in dire need of repairs, from Tuesday, May 11, starting at 10 p.m.
As the Prime Minister pleaded with motorists and commuters to be patient, he disclosed that he was very concerned about elderly persons and children who walk through the tunnel on a daily basis.
He said the upgrading of the pass, which has several houses lying above, will see the construction of sidewalks on either side of the roadway to facilitate commuters, and when completed would be “so safe that it can withstand a nuclear attack”.
Minister of Transport, Works and Housing Julian Francis also offered more details of the closure of the tunnel on Tuesday. He said the pass will be closed at nights from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. when the bulk of the work will be carried out, except Monday nights to accommodate the passage of banana trucks. Special consideration will be given during carnival.
He clarified that all commuters using the tunnel must be out by 9 p.m. since no persons will be allowed through after this time with the exception of emergency vehicles. He also hastened to warn persons against creating fake emergencies to beat the system and emphasised that the contractors are seeking to guarantee the safety of all persons involved.
The Chief Consultant for the project is John Weir of Marchel Parkman Consulting Firm, while the main contractor is Dipcon Engineering’s Ian Singh. Dipcon has also employed the help of sub-contractor Shotcrete Engineering. They will be involved in the actual execution of work.
Outlining what will be done during the expansion, the contractor explained that there will be some excavation around the whole of the tunnel while metal arches will be installed.
The actual size of the tunnel is 3 metres in width, 55 metres in length and on completion it is expected to be 4 metres wide and 6 metres in height. It was also explained that the completed tunnel would have an extra steel canopy extending from both ends of the pass.
The project, expected to last 14 weeks, is estimated to cost $2 million dollars.