Two major arteries in the road network in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are to be upgraded with a loan of 9.046-million U.S. dollars from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The Bank’s Board of Directors approved the loan at a meeting on Thursday, July 17, and it will be used for making the Windward and Vigie highways more resilient to natural disasters.
A release from the Bank says the loan will fund restoration of critical infrastructure at high risk of failure along both highways, including slope and embankment stabilization, bridge repairs and construction.
The upgrade programme also includes construction and rehabilitation of river defenses along the Yarabaqua and Caratal rivers, and rehabilitation of sections of the feeder road network.
The CDB is providing Technical Assistance for the landslide risk assessment and slope stabilization aspects of the project as well as for remedial design study for selected sections along the highways – including three bridges.
Improvement of the two highways has become critical in the wake of damage done in December 2013, when two colliding trough systems dumped over 270 mm of rain over parts of the country causing significant flooding and also landslides.
CDB’s Board of Directors also approved a Grant of 221-thousand U.S. dollars to cover the cost of equipment for rainfall and stream flow measurement, and training of hydrological technicians.
The Windward Highway connects all communities on the eastern half of the mainland St. Vincent to Georgetown and Kingstown, which is the the principal centre of economic and social activities on the island.
The Vigie Highway is a south-west to north-east oriented transport corridor linking Kingstown to the Windward Highway at Peruvian Vale.