Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works, Kendell Johnson, has reported that damages suffered by the Douglas-Charles Airport during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika is in excess of $41-million.
During the storm the airport received a severe pounding due to flooding by the Melville Hall River, which caused every piece of equipment at that facility to be destroyed and therefore had to be replaced.
On September 2, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit revealed that the Douglas Charles Airport was significantly impacted by the storm and Government would require $39.5-million to have it restored.
Johnson said at a press conference on Wednesday that figure has since increased.
“We have quantified, with the help of local professional engineers, the damage to the facility is in excess of $41-million,” he revealed. “We have damage to the fencing, the runway, the taxiway, the apron, the landside, access roads, the equipment that were housed in the building.”
Johnson mentioned further that the rehabilitation works have been packaged in two phases.
“One will look at the fencing, runway, taxiway, apron and the landside access roads,” he explained. “Phase two needs a bit more detailed intervention because of the dynamics of the Melville Hall River. It is a rather large river and we need to assess the hydrology and the hydrolic capacity of the channel before we design the necessary interventions.”
He said the Ministry of Public Works has received proposals for the rehabilitation for phase one, “and those we have assessed, and we have made a recommendation to start negotiations for the construction of the permanent works.”
He revealed that later down in the year the ministry will be looking at the issue of lightings at the airport.
“The airport lighting was damaged so we are also seeking proposals for the installation of the runway lighting,” Johnson noted. “We have discussed the matter with the aviation authority and we are proposing the installation of a solar lighting system that can be controlled by the air traffic people.”
Johnson added, “That is being worked on as a matter of urgency, because of the limited flights that is now coming in at the airport. Beyond 5, O clock all flights are stopped because of the dark conditions.”