Press Release:– At the end of a 2-day stay (August 4 and 5, 2019) in Saint Lucia, Barbados-based EU delegate, Kyle Farnum, says the EU-funded DVRP developments, namely reconstruction of the Piaye Bridge and rehabilitation of the Anse-La-Raye to Venus Link Road, are climate-resilient projects that the EU is extremely pleased to be associated with.
Mr. Farnum highlighted the significance of both projects in lessening the potential negative impacts of weather-related events in vulnerable communities.
“The EU is aware that in the event that the Piaye Bridge is compromised, several communities where schools and other critical facilities are located will be negatively affected. Invariably, the EU, like the Government of Saint Lucia, wants to avoid major interruption to the lives of thousands of residents,” Farnum said.
The existing bridge in Piaye is a temporary Bailey bridge structure.
The first Bailey bridge was installed in the area following damage by Tropical Storm Debbie in 1994 and has been replaced with other temporary bridges over time in response to impacts from successive major events, the most recent being the 2013 Christmas Eve trough.
The EU-funded project will result in a properly engineered permanent bridge structure that is more climate-resilient and will also minimize traffic delays by accommodating two-lane rather than one-lane traffic.
As regards the Anse-La-Raye to Venus Link Road, Farnum said the EU noted “the current poor conditions of the road” and is especially hopeful that the project upon completion “will open up a stream of economic activities—appropriate to the rainforest area—which residents in the surrounding communities can benefit from.”
Mr. Kyle Farnum’s tour also included visits to other select Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project sites, including the completed reconstructed blocks of the Choiseul Secondary School and the site for the new Piaye Community Centre, slated for development under the DVRP.
DVRP Climate Change Coordinator, Angela Burnett, who was part of the touring team comprising government technocrats from the Project Coordination Unit and the Department of Infrastructure, noted the value of replacing the temporary Bailey bridge in Piaye, with a permanent fixture which can withstand heavy rainfall events.
“The Piaye Bridge is very important in the context of the DVRP, as we seek to build Saint Lucia’s resilience to climate change impacts. In particular, we know that climate change will result in more frequent heavy rainfall events, as well as stronger hurricanes, both of which can lead to more frequent flood events,” she noted.
“As a way to prepare ourselves for these events,” Burnett added, “it is important that we replace structures like the temporary Bailey-type bridge with more permanent, properly engineered and properly constructed bridges that are able to withstand high-intensity rainfall events and therefore be able to maintain critical linkages between communities should the country suffer a serious flood or hurricane event.”
Burnett explained that the DVRP is much more than building bridges, schools, and health facilities and includes establishing early warning systems, developing a national spatial data infrastructure, human resource capacity building, institutional strengthening and many more “softer” type activities, all designed to build resilience to climate change and reduce disaster vulnerability.
Expressions of Interest are currently being evaluated for engineering design services for reconstruction of the Piaye Bridge and the Anse-La-Raye to Venus Link Road which was severely comprised during Hurricane Tomas in 2010.
Design works for both projects are expected to commence this year.