Tuesday, 20 March, the inauguration of Cumberland Bridge Reconstruction Project, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will take place.
This project improves the vehicular connection through the leeward side of the island and provides better transport infrastructure for residents of the area.
The project was designed and built with a focus on providing a resilient infrastructure and considering the mitigation against the impact of future heavy rainfall events through the protection of riverbanks; along with the renovation of the bridges.
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) implemented the project on behalf of the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with funding from the Government of Mexico.
The major infrastructural components included the design and reconstruction of the main Cumberland Bridge and three (3) small bridges and the repair or road and culverts upstream of the main bridge that were damaged by the passage of a tropical weather system in 2013, as well as river embankment protection. The project activities took place between January 2016 to February 2018.
The 2017 hurricane season reminded us all that the time for complacency in terms of improving physical infrastructure planning and construction has passed. The sense of urgency is being acutely felt by most people in a number of islands in the Caribbean.
The 2018 Hurricane season is only three months away. The need for a radical change in the way we build and plan our infrastructure is indisputable.
The lessons of 2017 must be brought into our physical infrastructure planning and execution and it must happen today.
It can only happen through collaboration and a focus on innovative long-term infrastructure that is the cable of serving the urgent needs of today while withstanding the long-term challenges of tomorrow.