Tabaquite residents protest bad bridge

Frus­trat­ed over a dan­ger­ous rick­ety wood­en bridge in their com­mu­ni­ty, res­i­dents of Pi­paro Road, Tabaquite yes­ter­day held a fiery protest call­ing for a new bridge.

Shout­ing “we want we bridge fix right now,” the res­i­dents with plac­ards burned de­bris and gath­ered at the Pi­paro Road bridge.

The road is the main ac­cess point to and from their com­mu­ni­ty. They com­plained that on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, res­i­dents’ feet have gone through gap­ing holes in the bridge caus­ing them in­juries while ve­hi­cles have been dam­aged.

The re­fusal of taxis and garbage trucks to cross the bridge in fear that it would col­lapse, have caused res­i­dents sig­nif­i­cant in­con­ve­nience.

Staff, teach­ers and par­ents would have to cross the bridge to ac­cess the Tabaquite Sec­ondary School so to would per­sons vis­it­ing, work­ing or re­sid­ing at the Pi­paro Em­pow­er­ment Cen­tre.

Res­i­dents with­out ve­hi­cles have to walk a half mile to the junc­tion to get trans­port. Sunil Sookram re­called how he had to car­ry his sick el­der­ly moth­er in his arms to the junc­tion.

“The bridge very dan­ger­ous. I had to tote she and car­ry she out,” he com­plained.

Ashram Rak­bir said his son, oth­er chil­dren and every­one who us­es the bridge are at risk of get­ting in­jured. “We want the bridge fix.”

Nik­ki Williams lament­ed, “This bridge is very im­pass­able and very un­safe. There are big holes. The bridge in­fra­struc­ture not safe. We need some­thing safe and some­thing se­cure.”

Ka­mani Jat­tan re­called how her car “just slipped off the bridge and went down a hole,” when was drop­ping her hus­band to work. “It re­al­ly un­safe, it not se­cure, it not pass­able.

Peo­ple fall down in­side the bridge al­ready and it very dan­ger­ous. No rub­bish truck, no bread van, no gas truck, no fish van, no school bus pass­ing (on the bridge).

Stand­ing in sup­port of the res­i­dents, coun­cil­lor and chair­man of the Cou­va/Tabaquite/Tal­paro Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion (CT­TRC) Hen­ry Awong said the bridge falls un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Min­istry of Works High­way Di­vi­sion and it was last re­paired in 2014.

He said nu­mer­ous let­ters, as re­cent as Feb­ru­ary, have been sent to the Min­istry of Works and Di­rec­tor of High­way Narvin Ram­s­ingh re­quest­ing that the bridge be re­paired.

Com­plain­ing that hun­dreds of res­i­dents are af­fect­ed, Awong dis­missed the min­istry’s ex­cuse that fund­ing was not avail­able. “It is not a big bridge like the Ca­roni bridge. It is a small bridge about 30 feet wide. I am sure fund­ing could be made avail­able to fix this bridge.

Awong said res­i­dents now want the bridge re­placed with a con­crete struc­ture.

“We are call­ing on the Min­is­ter of Works Mr Ro­han Sinanan to en­sure that the peo­ple here at Pi­paro Road, Tabaquite get a brand new bridge.”

When con­tact­ed, an of­fi­cial from the Min­istry's com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­part­ment said Di­rec­tor of High­ways Navin Ram­s­ingh is aware of the sit­u­a­tion and the min­istry is mak­ing prepa­ra­tions to re­pair and re­ha­bil­i­tate the bridge. Ram­s­ingh could not a date when the project is like­ly to com­mence.

- by Sascha Wilson

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