Infrastructure Minister Stephenson King Tuesday confirmed that his Ministry’s road maintenance programme had detected some movement on the Choc bridge.
But he explained steps to address the issue while asserting that there was no ‘extreme danger’.
The former Prime Minister disclosed that the Ministry had completed the necessary investigation and assessment and was preparing to implement ‘intermediary’ measures.
King explained that implementing the measures would be in preparation for reconstructing the Julian R. Hunte Highway.
He said funding is from the Kuwait government.
“It entails the bridge, all the way to Gros Islet,” King told reporters.
The Castries North MP recalled that negotiations with the selected contractor concluded last week.
He said the contractor would do remedial work on the bridge costing ‘just under $500,000’.
“We are on the ball. We have been putting all measures in place. We have gone to the extent of looking at a totally new bridge if it calls for a new bridge down the road when the Kuwaitis do commence work,” the Minister stated.
“There is no extreme danger on the bridge. The bridge is not a suspended bridge,” the Castries North MP told reporters.
He revealed that two huge cylindrical pipes designed for highways accommodate the structure.
King recalled that since Hurricane Tomas in 2010, the river flow removed the bridge top.
“Emergency works were done to it but not to any satisfaction. We have done several interventions over the years to help in that situation. But on this occasion what we believe is we need to move on,” the Minister said.
King said this would ensure once a new road is constructed, there would be a new bridge.
He said in the meantime, remedial work would make motoring more comfortable.
“It is not that we are extreme danger,” King told reporters.
Regarding the work time frame for the remedial work, the Minister’s response was:
“We should commence any time now. As a matter of fact were hoping to start this week and the only logistical issue that seemed to be interfering with our start date is whether we close the highway for at least an entire week or a weekend or two weekends to do the works necessary or to build a bypass bridge which would be a more costly exercise.”