St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN); The Public Works Department in Nevis is presently conducting a preliminary assessment of the damage to the Bath Bridge, caused by heavy rains late last week.
The undermining of the bridge that leads into Bath village, however, occurred over the weekend. The Bath Bridge is said to be several decades old.
Officials closed the bridge to pedestrian and vehicular on Monday (May 15) due to safety concerns over structural failure of critical sections of the busy crossing.
Director of Public Works Raoul Pemberton, speaking to the extent of the damage, said it was due to excessive erosion of the foundation area of the bridge support, mainly in the central area.
Junior Minister of Public Works in the NIA, Troy Liburd, told WINN FM that an inspection of the bridge conducted a few weeks prior had identified some signs of damage, ones that were listed for repair, but which posed no safety concerns at the time.
This was confirmed by the Public Works Director, who stated that the rains had exacerbated existing issues, causing the total erosion of the base of the support, which is the soil and aggregate below the concrete.
The officials said the bridge would remain closed for several weeks as the Department conducts its analysis on the best course of action to ensure that the situation could be remedied and construction completed in a timely manner.
Minister Liburd told WINN FM that that because the assessment is in its infancy stage, he could not put an estimated cost to the repairs or give a definitive timeline for the repair work.
He said Public Works would have to work on redesigning the bridge looking at ways to prevent future erosion issues as much as possible.
In the meantime the Department will create a temporary pathway for pedestrians, while motorists can use any of the other three routes that access the area.