Castries, Saint Lucia: With the completion of the Volet Bridge, drivers of the vehicles that traverse the East Coast Highway over 57,000 times a day can now enjoy a roadway that is more climate resilient.
The bridge, located at Micoud, was constructed to replace the previous culvert to allow the Volet River to safely flow under the highway. The old culvert failed when the river overflowed its banks during the extreme rains of the 2013 Christmas Eve Trough, resulting in the highway being cut in two. While an emergency repair allowed for the reopening of the highway, flooding continued to plague the area during heavy rainfall events, impacting this transportation lifeline and surrounding farmlands. Without intervention, the culvert would have eventually failed again.
The new Volet Bridge, funded via the DVRP, was carefully designed to ensure maximum flood resilience and durability. Construction started in April 2021, and the certificate of completion was issued on May 17, 2022.
- Designs informed by community consultations and hydrologic and hydraulic analyses of the Volet River watershed.
- Approximately 16-meter-long, 4-meter-high reinforced concrete right portal bridge, designed to accommodate a 50-year rainfall event; such an event historically has a 2% chance of occurring in any given year.
- The scope of works included riverbank protection before and after the bridge
The initiative complements earlier works under the DVRP to rehabilitate and enhance the Highway section at Canelles, which also collapsed during the 2013 Christmas Eve Trough, claiming the lives of two persons.