Emergency injection
Gov't provides $3m to clear flood-causing bamboo from Lucea
State minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Homer Davis.

LUCEA, Hanover — The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has authorised a $3-million emergency effort to clear flood-causing bamboo from the Lucea West River Bridge. Also called the Riley River Bridge, the structure has been flood-prone for years. The most recent inundation which left the bridge closed occurred on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, state minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Homer Davis toured the river along with mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels; the Member of Parliament for Hanover Western Tamika Davis; councillor for the Lucea division Easton Edwards, and representatives from the National Works Agency (NWA).

"Work had commenced before, by NWA, but the allocation that the NWA has could not carry out the scope of work that was required. So I spoke with the Minister of Local Government [Desmond McKenzie] who authorised the mayor to make available $3 million from the emergency funds to start some immediate clean-up and preventative work," Davis told the Jamaica Observer.

He said he will be making a visit to assess the progress made.

The work is being carried out by the Hanover Municipal Corporation in collaboration with the NWA.

The scope of work includes the cleaning of drains, the removal of bamboo at two locations — Riley River and the Lucea East River (Kew) bridges — and also the removal of bamboo along the river.

The work will involve the use of heavy equipment, dump trucks and manual labour.

Samuels said the work will be done in stages. The aspect which started Wednesday afternoon is part of a long-term undertaking. Medium-term work entails river maintenance which will see harvesting of the bamboo from the river. For the third stage, a maintenance crew will have responsibility for maintaining the river's course.

"In the near future, you won't be seeing any bamboo popping up there because we will be clearing the area periodically," stated Samuels.

In May, he had expressed dissatisfaction with the work being done by the NWA. On Thursday he told the Observer that he is happy the NWA will now be working alongside the municipal corporation to implement the solution identified.

Anthony Lewis

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