With the 2016 Hurricane Season looming and with flood waters hampering operations at the Douglas Charles Airport recently, a project has been undertaken to dredge the Melville Hall River.
On March 15, flood waters from the river, unleashed by heavy rains, invaded the airport putting a hold on operations at the facility.
Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica Air and Seaport Authority (DASP) Benoit Bardouille said with the Hurricane Season on everybody’s mind, mitigating measures are being put in place to avoid further flooding.
“We have works being done on the dredging of the river, that is being done because we had the unfortunate situation on March 15 where we had the flooding which hampered some people’s travel for the day,” he said on a DASPA radio program. “We are preparing because everybody’s mind now is tuned to the Hurricane Season in which start in June and so we are trying to undertake as much mitigating measures.”
He pointed out that the project is expected to be completed ‘some time in June’ but there is a lot of pressure because of unfavorable weather.
“We are hoping that if things step up we can actually get our result in June … clearly there is a lot of pressure because the weather has not been very favorable of late in terms of the high volume of rainfall but we certainly want to ensure the project is completed,” Bardouille said.
He pointed out that part of the project includes the construction of a four-foot wall that was broken and there is also a rock armour defence mechanism being placed against the river walls.
“So that too will help,” he noted.
Bardouille stated that work is expected to continue with further dredging downstream from the airport.
“Work on dredging is to continue further downstream to ensure that we do not have any other serious issues as it relates to flooding or damage to the airport compound,” he said.