Residents of Joe’s River, St Joseph are worried that a bridge in the community has become a bridge to disaster and a possible death trap; and they are calling on Government to repair it before tragedy strikes.
The cause of concern is a crack in the weighbridge, previously used to weigh sugarcane trucks.
Community activist Andrew Dixon said the crack has been there for a number of years, but it appears to be getting worse, heightening concern for a community that still remembers the country’s worst accident in which six people lost their lives and another 37 were injured on July 29, 2007, when a tour coach on the way to the Crop Over East Coast Calypso Bowl crashed into a wall there.
“What really happening down in here is that years ago the bridge had a crack. Over the years the crack tend to worsen; now you can look at it and see it opened about four inches wide. . . . Something is happening with the bridge and we call on the authorities to actually come and pay a visit to the bridge and bring an engineer to let the people who use this bridge know what is happening,” Dixon told Barbados TODAY Thursday afternoon.
“I want the people to come and pay attention to this bridge before something happen . . . . You can’t abandon the bridge, I ain’t in no position to speak on the bridge but I am in a position to see that the bridge crack, which means something going wrong. So if engineers come and look at the bridge and assure us that the bridge is still strong then we will be able to act on their information, but right now I ain’t hearing anybody saying anything about the bridge and I would like somebody to come and say something before it is too late.”
The bridge was closed in 2010 for repair, and its reopening several months later was welcomed by residents, who said at the time its closure had been a major inconvenience.
However, some had expressed concern at the time that the crack had been left unattended, and they worried then it could lead to catastrophe.
It is the same concern that resident Antonio Hinds has more than six years later.
“That bridge was so for a lil’ while . . . . After they fix it that bridge start to crack again.
“I got seven children now here, my children does have to travel this road. Anytime at all that bridge can give away [underneath] the bus, car or even walking. I would like them do something with that or cut another road because that is a hazard to my children lives that want dealing with as soon as possible before it get any worse,” Hinds told Barbados TODAY.
Meanwhile, Harold Dawson, who has resided in the community for the past seven years, suggested that constant use of the road by heavy vehicles has contributed to the condition of the bridge.
And like fellow residents, he also fears the worst.
“I got to pass here. It was crack ever since, but I won’t like nothing to happen. [The heavy trucks] open it back more and more,” Dawson contended.
Minister of Transport & Works Michael Lashley could not be reached for comment, and up until the time of publication he had not returned calls from Barbados TODAY.