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Bridge near PM’s home falls down (with CNC3 video)
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar warned Tobagonians during Saturday’s rally in Market Square, Scarborough, that “London bridge was falling down,” but little did she know that a bridge in her own constituency, outside her parents’ Siparia home, would fall first. The bridge caved in after heavy rains on Monday night at Syne Village, Penal, a few metres from where Persad-Bissessar grew up.
Municipal police from the Siparia Regional Corporation as well as officers from the Penal and Siparia police patrolled the SS Erin Road warning motorists of the danger. Around midnight, the entire road sank and it was subsequently blocked off. Traffic was diverted along the Penal/Quinam Road.
Resident Ricardo Lopez said he first noticed cracked cylinders under the bridge about six weeks ago and alerted the regional corporation. He said recent dredging works had exacerbated the problem. “What happened was the flow of water started to move around the bridge because they widened the river...This is what caused the cylinders to crack,” Lopez said.
A team from the regional corporation led by its chairman Leo Doodnath and including Director of Highways Roger Ganesh met with junior Works Minister Stacy Roopnarine at the site around midday. Roopnarine said the problem will be addressed in a timely manner.
“We will install two Bailey bridges on the sides to allow vehicular traffic. This road is a busy main road and we anticipate some problems with congestion during peak hours because we are currently diverting traffic along the Quinam Road,” she said. She added that a Ministry of Works team is scheduled to work throughout the night to ensure that repairs are is finished in record time.
“We have a contractor on site and we will begin works soon. The Bailey bridges will be brought in from Central,” Roopnarine said. In response Lopez’s comments that recent dredging of the river had caused the collapse, Roopnarine said there were qualified engineers in the ministry’s Drainage Division who supervised the work in a professional manner.
Roopnarine said all bridges are reviewed under the bridges repair programme, adding that 92 are listed to be rebuilt or upgraded over the next three years. She said that the cost of repairing the collapsed bridge in Penal would be contained as in-house resources were being used.
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