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Jun 10, 2008

Traffic now running over Sittee at Kendal

Story PictureTraffic is rolling across the Sittee River at Kendal and News Five’s Marion Ali was on hand to check out the situation.

Marion Ali, Reporting
While the river crossing at Kendall is not as smooth as drivers were accustomed to before last week’s flooding, the completion of the causeway is good news for all who travel the Southern Highway. With the placement of thirty culverts into the river, the temporary crossing has been open to traffic since last night, much to the delight of drivers like John Elliott.

John Elliott, Motorist
“It’s wonderful. I didn’t expect it to be done this fast.”

Marion Ali
“You use the road often?”

John Elliott
“Yeah, all the time. We have properties on both sides of the river so it’s convenient for us.”

Marion Ali
“You had to have somebody else on the other side to wait for you?”

John Elliott
“Exactly. If we wanted to pass we had to either cross in a boat or something.”

Marion Ali
“Or fly.”

John Elliott
“Yeah, they’re getting it. Yeah, it’s much cheaper than flying.”

But while it is now in place, the crossing did come with some delays.

Derrick Calles, Engineer, Ministry of Works
“All of these materials are materials we had to purchase and they were not readily available so we had to get them from all different sources and it took a little while before we could get them to the site. Once we got them to the site then we started to place them.”

Marion Ali
“Can you go into a bit of what kind of work actually is happening here? How many culverts did it require and the process of getting the sand and putting it and then actually running over it; flattening it?”

Derrick Calles
“It has thirty culverts in all for now and we did not fill all the river because we are going to place a low lying bridge which should start shortly.”

According to engineer with the Ministry of Works, Derrick Calles, the first works to install the low-lying bridge will begin tomorrow. This will again hinder the regular flow of traffic.

Derrick Calles
“During the time we’ll be using the lower level of the causeway which is driving through the water. So we’ll interrupt traffic for short periods of time so we can get some work going but we’ll try to work as best as we can with the traffic.”

With the causeway bridge in place, Calles says Government will work on importing and installing a temporary bridge from the U.S. Army just upstream within the next two or three months. The Ministry of Works will also monitor the causeway to ensure that it remains safe should more rains come before that bridge is in place.

Derrick Calles
“We’re trying to make it as safe as possible now. It is safe now for vehicles to pass but you know we’re working with materials that are placed in the water and we can’t really guarantee anything but we do our best to keep the traffic safe while travelling on the road.”

Marion Ali
“And the bridge that you will put further up the river; what height will it be? Can it withstand another flood until the permanent bridge is put in?”

Derrick Calles
“Well, based on what we have seen around here, the normal area for the river has been washed away so it would take a very large flood for the water to reach that level.”

Calles explained that it wasn’t just water levels that caused the Kendall Bridge to be washed away.

Derrick Calles
“We’re in hilly areas where the water doesn’t take long to run off the hills and we have what is called flash floods in this area so that is what would cause an unexpected amount of water to rush down the river way and wash away the bridge.”

Another location where drivers have been inconvenienced by the floods is the Mullins River Bridge about eight miles from the Coastal Road’s junction at Hope Creek. Calles says while big trucks will be able to cross the riverbed, smaller vehicles will have to wait.

Derrick Calles
“It is open to big vehicles and four wheel drive vehicles can go across because it’s going into the water. We don’t have any permanent structure that would allow you to drive on dry land yet but we’re working on the idea placing back one of the spans that was in the vicinity to allow vehicle to pass over dry bridge in a short period of time.”

Marion Ali
“How short?”

Derrick Calles
“Let’s hope it would be couple of weeks before we could get that going and traffic can be regularized and we’ll have vehicles going through and driving, not in the water, but on a dry surface.”

Portions of the Coastal Road that have been washed away are also being replaced and graded as well. These works should be completed by next week. Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.

While in the Hope Creek area News Five checked with one of the villagers who complained to us last week about the distribution of supplies from the IT-VET Centre. We were pleased to discover that that problem has been corrected and supplies are now reaching the needy in a timely fashion.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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