RADHICA DE SILVA
Connectivity will be restored to Piparo as soon as possible, Works Minister Rohan Sinanan promised on Tuesday, three days after a major bridge at Lower Piparo collapsed.
Over 75 families are affected and thousands of commuters who use the road to get to Tabaquite are unable to pass.
Speaking to Guardian Media, Sinanan said a team from his Ministry visited the area. He said the bridge collapsed because of heavy vehicles traversing on the bridge. Sinanan called on residents to ensure that there is compliance with vehicle weight specifications.
“When heavy vehicles break the law and pass through areas where they are not supposed to pass, the residents must take it upon themselves to not only report it but to also intervene,” he said.
He added, ” Residents have to work with us to ensure that road restrictions are adhered to. This bridge already collapsed. Residents have to come together to understand that this area has infrastructural challenges and expand the network, they must ensure that they do not breach the restrictions because some of these roads and bridges have not been built for heavy equipment.
On Saturday around 1 am, residents of Lower Piparo heard a loud crash as the concrete pillars beneath the bridge collapsed, flinging chunks of concrete into the waters of the Guaracara/Tabaquite River. Residents, who are mainly elderly people say they noticed heavy trucks passing over the bridge and wondered how much longer it would last.
They said when the bridge was first erected under the tenure of Jack Warner, two signs were placed on either side of the bridge specifying that vehicles heavier than three tonnes should not cross. However, they said the signs were sawed off and it became free for vehicles of every size.
Meanwhile, Sinanan said the fallen bridge at Edward Trace is still impassable. He said responsibility for that bridge falls under the regional corporation.
Sinanan said there were over 20 bridges across the country that needed repairs. He noted that the Edward Trace bridge in Moruga did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Works. However, he said his Ministry is providing technical assistance to the regional corporations.
We are working with the Corporations to ensure that connectivity is maintained. We have 15 to 20 bridges across the country that have been affected by inclement weather,” he added.