News day / YVONNE WEBB
MINISTER of Local Government and Rural Development Kazim Hosein has told residents of Moruga that the Bailey bridge he opened at Sixth Company, Circular Road last Friday, is safe.
He said this is the third Bailey bridge constructed in a rural community through the Wooden Bridge Replacement Programme during his tenure, and all have gone through rigorous testing before and after installation. The previous two are in Diego Martin and another at Cedros. Moruga is set to receive a second bridge later this year.
Hosein said Rio Claro, Toco, Sangre Grande and other rural communities will also benefit from this programme, which is being undertaken by an in-house team at his ministry.
His safety assurance follows the collapse of a pedestrian bridge, celebrated as a “technological innovation”, days after it was installed at Florida International University, Miami. Several people were killed, others injured and others still unaccounted for.
Hosein said the ministry has a competent team of engineers and other people certified to examine and oversee the installation of these bridges and is certain they would not produce the same results as the Florida bridge.
As if to demonstrate its stability, MP for Moruga/Tableland Dr Lovell Francis who accompanied Hosein and a team from the Princes Town Regional Corporation (PTRC) to open the bridge, jumped up and down on it.
There was no ribbon-cutting, formal setting or speeches.
The team simply walked over the bridge, jumped on it and then declared it open to the public. Francis said Circular Road, where the bridge was installed, is a connector road to different communities, including Sixth Company, and well traversed.
Hosein said the bridge provides access for hundreds of schoolchildren and it would have caused a great deal of inconvenience had the previous wooden structure been allowed to deteriorate further.
He said the bridge was installed in about two weeks with minimum cost and inconvenience.
Hosein also visited the beach facilities at Grand Chemin, which are receiving a facelift, including new toilets and a fresh coat of paint, in time for the Easter vacation.
He also acknowledged that the decision by the chairman of the PTRC Gowrie Roopnarine to charge a small fee for entry to Devil’s Woodyard, where the mud volcano recently erupted, and a more substantial price to rent a shed for the day, has the blessing of his ministry.