Deputy Prime Minister Reginald Austrie has said the Yorke Valley Bridge in Layou is one of the first major pieces of infrastructure that has been tested for resilience since it withstood Hurricane Maria which devastated the island last year.
The close to $11-million Bridge, which is nearing completion, is a grant from the People’s Republic of China.
Austrie made the comment during a Cabinet site visit to the bridge, locally known as the Gleau Chaud Bridge, on Wednesday.
“That bridge started in 2016 and was supposed to be completed the same month when Maria hit,” he said. “It withstood Hurricane Maria so it has demonstrated its resilience, it wasn’t even completed yet so we can say that one of the first major pieces of infrastructure that has been tested for resilience is the Yorke Valley Bridge.”
According to Austrie the government appreciates the importance of that bridge not only for the farmers access in the area but also for linking other sections of the island and creating an alternative route.
“It is a demonstration of friendship, it’s another project completed and as we have it now within a week or so the Chinese engineers will test the resilience of the bridge to ensure that everything is done according to specs and very shortly the bridge will be handed over to the people and the government of Dominica,” he stated.
He said both local as well as Chinese engineers are very satisfied with the bridge and has given the assurance that “it can withstand another Maria if it has to, God forbid.”
“We are very satisfied as a government that we got a top quality job, a good finish and we believe that it is a project that will remain,” he noted.
Meantime, Chinese Ambassador to Dominica His Excellency Lu Kun said the construction of the Bridge is a very important project for Dominica.
“This Bridge is a very important bridge in Dominica,” he stated. “The construction company of this bridge is from China and this company is a very high quality, very powerful, very big company in China.”
He said most important projects in China are constructed by the company.
“This bridge is half completed, but even at this moment the bridge was not damaged by Hurricane Maria,” Lu Kun said. “It is a climate resilience bridge and I hope that it will beneficial to the transportation between the east and the west in Dominica and also beneficial to the farmers locally.”
He said also that the bridge is part of the friendship between Dominica and the People’s Republic of China.
The original Yorke Valley Bridge was severely damaged during the collapse of the Mattieu Dam in July 2011.