Raging Colonarie river sweeps away Belle Vue bypass bridge
December 27, 2013
Raging Colonarie river sweeps away Belle Vue bypass bridge

The Belle Vue bypass bridge is now resting in the sea off the Colonarie coast.{{more}}

The bridge was swept away from its abutments by the force of a raging Colonarie river during the passage of the trough system on Christmas Eve, and residents in the area are still in awe, when they reflect on what happened.

When SEARCHLIGHT visited the area, the faces of the residents spoke volumes of what they were experiencing. We met one resident, Ashley Danziel, clearing debris which had made its way on to the road, after the river had risen and flooded the area.

He said the destruction to the bridge began at about 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve night.

“When me dey day, me dey ah watch the river ah pass down with a whole heap of things in it,” Danziel recalled.

He said he saw livestock and even vehicles being swept away with the river.

Danziel said the river kept rising, until it reached the same level as the bridge and began to spill on the road which leads to Belle Vue and the Colonaire main road.

“Me dey ya whole night ah watch de thing… When me see that, I see the bridge break and let go. Water was just flowing pon the road. After it (the bridge) break away now, the water dropped back down to the normal level,” Danziel added.

According to Danziel, motorists had been using the bridge while the water was rising. He said at times, he ran into the road to warn motorists about the impending danger.

“Before the thing happened, I was warning them. My girlfriend run down the road and even flagged down one of the vehicles because the vehicle was going up, water been done ah come down in the road. If she na been do that, it (the vehicle) woulda wash away,” Danzeil stated.

Danziel said it was the first time he witnessed a natural disaster of such magnitude.

“For the longest while me come pon the earth, I never see anything like this.”

Stating that most villagers were cleaning their houses of debris and seeking clean water, Danziel said he was still in high spirits despite what had taken place.

The water supply in that area and throughout St Vincent was affected by the damage caused by the floods.

“We don’t have clean water and me can’t even sleep. It come like me ah tremble all thing,” he said.

The bypass bridge was built in mid-2012 to allow for the temporary diversion of vehicular traffic during the construction of the main Colonarie bridge. The Colonarie bridge, which was built at a cost of EC$3 million, with the assistance of the government of Taiwan, was opened in August 2013, during the visit of President of the Republic of China on Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou to St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Up to press time, no damage was been reported to the newly constructed Colonarie bridge.(KW)