PM Says Concrete Pouring May Be Cause

By Lesroy W. Williams

Observer Reporter

lesroywilliams@thestkittsnevisobserver.com

(Basseterre, St. Kitts) – Two months have passed since the bridge being built along the west by-pass road near the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw Airport collapsed, killing one man and injuring two others.

The collapse killed Vincentian national Allick Toney, 64, and injured Guyanese nationals Ian ‘Shatta’ Warde and Murtland Watterton on May 14.

The Hon. Earl Assim Martin, Minister of Public Works, Utilities, Transport and Postal Services on the day of the accident promised that “there will be a full and thorough investigation into what went wrong.”

Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, said at his monthly press conference on July 9, that he does not have a recent update.

“I do not have an update…although I do know that there has been an appropriate follow-up. I know that the Minister of Works did inform the Cabinet that at least the preliminary report was submitted to him,” the Prime Minister stated.

The Prime Minister did not expound on what was in the preliminary report, but hinted that the bridge collapse was not as a result of poor engineering.

“One thing that I can say is that there was some element of surprise that the bridge had collapsed because I understand (from an engineering standpoint) that the props or whatever they call them…were more than adequate. But I understand further that maybe it was the pouring and distribution of concrete, the rate of pouring and the rate of spreading that could have led to the collapse,” Douglas said.

The layman on the street who has no engineering degree surmises that the bridge caved in because the deck did not have enough support to withstand the weight of the poured concrete.

Washington Archibald, Observer Columnist, in a May 23 article “Inexcusable Incompetence” said, “Even the ordinary hose man whose job it was to spread the concrete, felt that something was amiss. When he looked at the scaffolding before launching into his work, he sensed that all was not well, but he was no engineer, no quantity surveyor, no technician, so in his innocence he thought, however reluctantly, that these qualified men knew what they were doing.”

The Prime Minister said that there was no final report yet on the bridge collapse but that as soon as it is ready it would be made public to the many concerned citizens and taxpayers of this country.