Coastal Plane Highway Reopens After Flooding

Coastal Plane Highway Reopens After Flooding

After being inundated by the recent deluge, the Coastal Plane Highway is now accessible to motorists. The recently inaugurated road was closed by the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing yesterday due flooding. The 36-mile thoroughfare was constructed with climate resilient features, such as flood ways that are designed to hold excess water. Evondale Moody, the ministry’s Engineering Coordinator, explained that during heavy rains the areas will flood and says that it the road was designed that way. 

Evondale Moody, Engineering Coordinator, Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “We have four flood way sections two at Sibun Bridge and two Corn House. So those areas were designed to be flooded in the event we have extreme rainfall events. Reason being that one the Sibun River that crosses the Coastal Highway floods very quickly and the level of the flood water rises very quickly as well. We take that area the Coastal Highway upgrading project raised the road approximately four meters which is about sixteen to seventeen feet. If we would have raised the road to nine meters that would have been very costly for the project to go up to that nine meter level knowing that the bank of the Sibun River would still over top itself because the surrounding area is very low and the Sibun River is a river that rises very quickly because it picks up a lot of water from different tributaries that are adjacent to the Sibun River. So from what we’ve seen the Coastal Highway performed as expected. The flood ways that we had designed also had flood gauges for the motoring public to see what the water level is in relation to the road elevation. So on all the flood ways we have flood gauges that go from zero to five feet. So around 4:30 yesterday evening we observed that that elevation was already at a foot above the existing flood way and we knew that we were going to go into the night. So in an abundance of caution I advised my technical team to close the section of the Coastal Highway from Democracia towards Manatee Bridge in an effort to safeguard the public because at times we just have motorists driving through the flood waters I’m not sure if they know that the water is there or if they have seen the water but they just like to see the flare up of the water on the sides of their vehicle and that could create an issue for the drivers and they could be at risk. So in an effort to minimize any incident and also to protect the public we decided to close that section of the highway because we knew that the river was rising quite rapidly and we wouldn’t want any accident to occur during the night when all of us are asleep.”

While the Coastal Road was impacted by the weekend rains, Moody says the country’s other highways held up without a hitch. 

Evondale Moody, Engineering Coordinator, Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “We have been improving on the level of professionalism that we put into the construction of our new roads. We have taken into consideration the climate resiliency aspect that is an important aspect that has been pushed by funding agencies and also one that had been adopted by the ministry and so for the most part the highways have performed well. Yes we have seen some potholes and sort of stuff developing but those are only isolated locations. For the most part we believe that the highways have held up quite well especially the new ones that we are presently constructing or have constructed in the past year so from the Ministry standpoint we want to continue to do our best to elevate the level of hour highways to a higher standard and by doing that we are also transitioning from the regular surface dressing pavement that we normally do the traditional one to hot mix which would give us a more longer lasting and resilient pavement.”

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