The National Works Agency (NWA) is reporting that the past 72 hours of severe rainfall has caused the collapse of two bridges, blocked 49 roadways, reduced 14 roads to single lane traffic, and flooded another four roadways.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NWA, Patrick Wong provided the update at a press conference called by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding at Jamaica House on (September 29), which was addressed by representatives of several critical response agencies.
This gentleman braves the rushing waters to carry his female companion across the Dry River at Harbour View. The fording had washed away during the heavy rainfall.
He noted that the approaches to the Harbour View fording in St. Andrew had washed out. However, the contractor is working on the western approach to the bridge, with a view to having it back up within the next 48 hours, while work has commenced in terms of stock-piling material, for the eastern approach to the fording.
A release from the Ministry of Transport and Works said that Minister Michael Henry, who toured the area this morning, had assured that the bailey bridge that spanned the river at Harbour View had not washed away as was being widely reported, but was dismantled by the contractors, who are engaged in the construction of a permanent bridge. He said the central base of the fording, though somewhat affected, remained largely intact.
Mr. Wong told the press conference that there has been extensive damage to the island’s road network, but that no cost assessment has yet been done. He noted however that the NWA is working to clear roadways. “Wherever we can get access to equipment to alleviate the situation. that is now taking place,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Director of the Meteorological Service, Sylvia McGill informed that while the weather system will continue to move to the north east, away from the island, “the very large area of cloudiness and showers associated with it will continue to affect Jamaica”.
Rising waters threaten the foot bridge at Cassia Park.
“We will continue to have outbursts of shower activity and thunderstorms across the island tonight, tomorrow and even into Friday. There are also two systems out in the Atlantic, which could affect us later in the weekend, and as such, we will be monitoring these two systems also,” she told the briefing.
Also providing updates at the press conference, which was chaired by Minister with Responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz were: Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles; Corporate Public Relations Manager at the National Water Commission (NWC), Charles Buchanan; Director of Tourism and Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, John Lynch; Deputy Director of Tourism Marketing, David Shields; Director of Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Marion Bullock Ducasse; and Colonel Rocky Meade from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).