The effects of Erika on a bridge in Picard. Photo: GIS

The effects of Erika on a bridge in Picard. Photo: GIS

Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit has announced that his government has devoted significant resources to the development of emergency bridges on the western and eastern Coast of Dominica.

Skerrit, who addressed the nation on Monday night, said during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika the country’s infrastructure was severely damaged

In fact, he said, the storm has caused almost $1-billion in damages to Dominica.

“Government continues to open up critical lines of communication and has devoted significant resources to the west and east roads. In support of these efforts we shall take delivery of some emergency bridges this week and immediately start to install these along the west coast, at Pointe Round, Batalie River and Macoucherie River,” he stated.

These bridges, he noted, “will provide safe crossing in the event those river levels rise.”

Skerrit revealed that concurrently bridge equipment will be deployed to the Gorge at Boetica, “to allow us to open up the road to reach the community of Delices.”

“Thereafter we shall provide a safe crossing at the White River then open road access to Petite Savanne,” he explained.

He mentioned also that road access to the south east is critical to stranded communities and this objective is a top priority for the government.

Skerrit said work on temporary bridges shall commence today (Tuesday) and workers will work extended hours until all these structures are in place.

Meantime he pointed out that while developing these temporary bridges, the government is also making advances in developing permanent replacement bridges.

“These new bridges shall be designed to ensure that they do not cause pinch points for river flows or are susceptible to repeat events,” he stated. “Government with the support of its development partners intends to move very quickly on the permanent rebuilding of the roads and bridges on the east and west coast, and will take decisive action on the short term to make sure that work commences as soon as possible and on an accelerated basis. Such reconstruction efforts shall also address obvious or vulnerabilities on the main highways and eliminate potential fatal flaws.”

Skerrit said his government also intends to install bridges in the Roseau Valley near the Trafalgar Falls to Wotten Waven and in Emshall.

“We have also embarked on a design of critical river training operations, to clean river channels and where possible prevent bridges to river banks,” he noted.