Residents in North Windward are looking forward to the placement of bridges over rivers in the constituency that have made crossing impossible when they are in flood.
The difficulties they face have been chronicled in video recordings, many of which were posted on social media during the latter part of 2021.
However, Parliamentary Representative for the constituency, Montgomery Daniel has given the assurance that bridges will be placed over rivers at Overland, Noel and London by early in the 2022 rainy season.
“The bridges should be placed on order very soon,” the Deputy Prime Minister said on a recent appearance on NBC Radio; “by the end of July/August, we should have the establishment of the Bailey Bridges across the rivers, in the constituency of North Windward.”
“There are basically two rivers that are difficult at this time, to cross when rain comes.”
These he said are the rivers at Overland and Noel.
Minister Daniel said that engineers are already doing preliminary works at these sites and discussions are ongoing between the Ministry of Transport and Works and the Ministry of Finance for the importation of three Bailey Bridges which would be funded under the Volcano Eruption Emergency Project.
According to the Parliamentary Representative, the Bailey Bridges will be put in place to “reduce or possibly eliminate the difficulty in access when we have rains on St Vincent and the Grenadines.”
He also spoke of plans to place permanent bridges north of Rabacca.
This will be done through a Caribbean Development Bank project for which consultancy work is already in progress.
Daniel further explained that from Caratal in Georgetown to Fancy, there are a total of 21 river crossings.
Bridges have already been built at : Caratal, Basin Hole, Miss Jane and Rabacca and some work has been done at Orange Hill.
In Sandy Bay alone, there are two rivers that need bridges and four more rivers between there and Fancy.
The minister promised that by “the end of the year, the safety and comfort of the river crossings, up to as far as London will be repaired, be remedied and much more accessible, even though we have heavy rains.”
Residents in areas affected by the flooding at Overland and other rivers, have expressed delight upon hearing of the promised bridges.
“These bridges will make life so much easier for us to get to and from work or wherever we have to go.
“The river at Overland was a big problem, when it rains you cannot get in or out of North Windward,” a resident of Sandy Bay told SEARCHLIGHT.
A resident of Point Village said: “ It is a good gesture because the people who live above the Rabacca River always have a hard time getting home whenever it rains.
“Sometimes we have to stay at the river for hours before we get to cross.”
The residents said having the bridges “is going to make life so much easier for us.”
Affected residents added that they may go to Kingstown on a sunny day, but while working or doing business there may receive a phone call informing them about rainfall north of Rabacca.
That person then has to try to get home quickly or be stuck at Overland for hours.
Persons also said that with North Windward being in the volcanic red zone there should be nothing interrupting the free flow of traffic in and out of the area.
On December 25 last year, SEARCHLIGHT highlighted the plight of residents and commuters who spent hours stuck on either side of the Overland River bank.
This resulted from heavy rainfall on Christmas Eve, December 24,2021.
Persons who were rushing to get home that evening, never made it home until Christmas morning.
A resident of Owia said she was stuck at Overland from about 5:00 p.m on Christmas Eve and never got home until about 2:00 a.m on Christmas Day .
In January, the concerns of these residents were further highlighted, as they anxiously awaited word on the government’s plan for the Overland River.
Daniel said now made that the plans have been made public residents are already thankful for the planned bridges especially at Overland.
The main bridge at Rabacca was opened in 2007 and allowed ease of access to communities northwards.