The Hubble Bridge a critical access point between the town of Gouyave and many villages in more recent times, the main entry to St John’s Anglican School from Gouyave, collapsed in broad day light on Monday.
According to residents in the area, the bridge, which was closed to vehicular traffic for the second time only months ago due to serious structural damage, simply went into the river beneath causing minor injuries to one of two young boys who were on the bridge at the time.
One villager told the Informer all she heard was a loud bang and the bridge was no more. She added that it was only God’s mercy more people were not injured in that collapse as several people used that bridge on a daily basis to get to and from Gouyave. Additionally due to the recent closure of the bridge to vehicular traffic, the villager said, persons also frequent the bridge as a liming spot while others use it to conduct business. Fortunately on that day only two people were on the bridge.
The Hubble Bridge, which was built to accommodate light traffic, had been of some vintage, however during the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 it endured a serious battering, forcing the authorities in the Ministry of Works to list it as being unsafe for vehicular traffic; nevertheless it remained a foot path and in 2013 after a second inspection it was reopened to vehicular traffic until 2014. It was also one of the many bridges around the island listed for repair in the aftermath of the Hurricane having suffered serious structural damage. Villagers in the area said so dangerous was that bridge that they sometime felt it shaking while walking.
One villager blames the Ministry of Works for reopening the bridge to vehicular traffic citing that this could have been responsible for the collapse at this time.
Informer Spoke to Chief Engineer in the Ministry of Works Jermaine St Louis via telephone on Tuesday and he confirmed that the Hubble Bridge is one of two bridges in Gouyave listed for repair under the World Bank sponsored Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, the other being the Lance Bridge.
St. Louis said presently the ministry is in the process of tendering out the project and once this is done, work would commence on the bridge. In the mean time he said the ministry would seek to create a temporary by-pass to allow persons to cross the area without getting into the river. Additionally he said the ministry would move almost immediately to clear the river from the debris created as a result of the collapsed bridge to avoid further water damage in the event of heavy rains.