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Road upgrade for St Vincent

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

Road upgrade for St Vincent

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TWO MAJOR ARTERIES in the road network in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are to be upgraded with a loan of US$9 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The Bank’s board of directors approved the loan at a meeting on July 17, 2014, and it will be used for making the Windward and Vigie highways more resilient to natural disasters.
The loan will fund restoration of critical infrastructure at high risk of failure along both highways, including slope and embankment stabilisation, bridge repairs and construction. The upgrade programme also includes construction and rehabilitation of river defences along the Yarabaqua and Caratal rivers, and rehabilitation of sections of the feeder road network.
CDB is providing Technical Assistance for the landslide risk assessment and slope stabilisation 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 milimetres of rain over parts of the country causing significant flooding and also landslides.    
CDB’s board of directors also approved a grant of US$221 000 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, the principal centre 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. (PR)