DIS­AS­TER VUL­NER­A­BIL­ITY RE­DUC­TION PROJECT IDA Credit 5493 –LC Pro­cure­ment of IT Equip­ment for the Min­istry of In­fra­struc­ture, Port Ser­vices and Trans­port

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Date: Novem­ber 5, 2014 Con­tract Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion No: NCBBIDDING DOC­U­MENT

SLU DVRP / NCB G POEMIPST 01-14 World Bank Loan/Credit No: IDA Credit 5493 - LC World Bank Loan/Credit Name: Dis­as­ter Vul­ner­a­bil­ity Re­duc­tion Project

By

Kerwin Cae­sar

The open­ing cer­e­mony drew 10 min­is­ters of gov­ern­ment and the se­nate. Con­struc­tion and works took over 11 mil­lion dol­lars and 12 months for the project to come to fruition, and on Tues­day De­cem­ber 9, the Bois D’Orange Bridge was fi­nally de­clared open. Oh, the cater­ing alone we have learnt cost a whop­ping EC$30,000 not to men­tion the cost for the dé­cor, tents and PA.

Along with many other bridges and in­fras­truc­tural com­modi­ties, the Bois D’Orange Bridge had suf­fered ex­ten­sive dam­age after the pas­sage of Hur­ri­cane To­mas in Oc­to­ber 2010. With it be­ing one of the con­nect­ing rods along the busiest road­way on the is­land, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion works had be­come a ne­ces­sity as the bridge catered to an av­er­age of 22,000 ve­hi­cles per day, and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion works caused an ad­verse in­con­ve­nience to the flow of traf­fic from Castries to Gros Islet and the north­ern end of the is­land.

Among the at­ten­dees Tues­day were Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Kenny D. An­thony, Par­lia­men­tary Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Gros Islet, Emma Hip­poltyte and Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture, Phillip J. Pierre, along with the Am­bas­sadors of Tai­wan, Mex­ico and Morocco to name a few. Also in attendance were stu­dents of the Corinth Sec­ondary School and School’s Choir as well as mem­bers of the pub­lic in­clud­ing res­i­dents of the dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties in the Gros Islet area.

The new struc­ture, as ex­plained by Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture Phillip J Pierre, is an 18-me­ter sin­gle span, com­pos­ite steel and con­crete struc­ture and is sup­ported on re­in­forced con­crete piles. The new bridge, though it will ini­tially op­er­ate as a two-lane, was built to ac­com­mo­date four-lane traf­fic, in keep­ing with fu­ture plans for the north­ern high­way. The gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia has con­tin­u­ously made men­tion of ex­tend­ing the road­way from Castries to Gros Islet to a four lane high­way.

The Prime Min­is­ter ad­dressed the gath­er­ing and he applauded road users, res­i­dents and the lo­cal business com­mu­nity for their pa­tience dur­ing the con­struc­tion pe­riod, but went on to fur­ther en­join the for­bear­ance of the pub­lic as his ad­min­is­tra­tion presses ahead with more in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment.

“The bad news is that there is more dis­rup­tion to come. In the months ahead you will prob­a­bly have to face some more dis­rup­tion as we seek to ex­pand the high­way from the Choc Bridge to Gros Islet.

“As you know, the Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia has re­ceived a sub­stan­tial loan at a very mod­est in­ter­est rate from the Kuwaiti Fund to ex­pand the high­way from the Choc Bridge, and that is go­ing to take a cou­ple months of con­struc­tion. And once again we are go­ing to come to you on bended knees and ask you to for­give us as we seek to im­prove the flow of traf­fic be­tween Gros Islet and the city.

“To make mat­ters worse, dis­rup­tion will also be caused by the re­con­struc­tion of the Choc Bridge. And if you thought $11.2 mil­lion was a lot of money on this bridge, then brace your­selves, be­cause the Choc Bridge will cost even more from what we are see­ing of the es­ti­mates. So, res­i­dents of Gros Islet, it is all in the name of de­vel­op­ment. I’m sorry, but I have to try and pro­tect you for the fu­ture and to re­solve once and for all the prob­lems we have had at Choc Bridge over the past few years,” An­thony said.

With the PM him­self ask­ing for belt-tight­en­ing and for ac­cep­tance of wage cuts and freezes, one could not help but won­der how the coun­try will cope with another project on the hori­zon which will be even more costly than this re­cently com­pleted one.

At the end of the cer­e­mony, pen­sioner Iris Ma­cauldy, who is now con­fined to a wheel­chair, had the hon­our of cut­ting the rib­bon to of­fi­cially de­clare the bridge open.

Iris Ma­cauldy sur­rounded by more politi­cians and sup­port­ers than is wit­nessed on an elec­tion night, cuts the rib­bon to de­clare the Bois D’Orange bridge of­fi­cially

open.

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