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Carr's Bay Fresh Water Pond from the beach side. The latest PWD culvert can be seen in the background.

Public Works Assessing Impact of Heavy Rains on Road Infrastructure

Director of Public Works Rawlson Patterson said the department is assessing the impact of Wednesday’s heavy rainfall on the road infrastructure and considering the recommendations from others who have knowledge of the flood patterns in the North of the island.

Residents were caught by surprise by the rain which led to flooding of roads and businesses in the Brades, Carr’s Bay and Little Bay. Social media images show cars struggling and succumbing to the fast moving waters which forced cancellation of events and early closure of the Brades Primary School.

Amazingly, the rains did not affect areas South of Woodlands.

Byron became social media famous after having to abandon his car in the middle of the flooding in Carr’s Bay on Wednesday, but not without his lunch. (Facebook)

In an official statement from the Public Works Department (PWD) in the Ministry of Communication, Works, Energy and Labour (MCWEL), Patterson said “On Wednesday October 13th , 2021, areas around Montserrat were impacted by an above normal weather event that discharged at least 4.66 inches of heavy rainfall over the 24hour period. Some low laying areas were inundated, as the volume of water discharged was above capacity of the drainage network. There was flooding in the Carr’s Bay area, along the Robert W. Drive in Little Bay and the section of road adjacent to Omar’s Jerk Fest & Restaurant (formally Sup’s Bar and Restaurant) in Brades. Other areas were also impacted to a lesser extent with minor landslides, rock-falls and surface wash-outs. It is a stark reminder of our fragile infrastructure and its susceptibility to climate change. Hence, we must continue to build with resilience in mind—adhering to the building codes.”

“Over the years, there have been some remarkable outcomes from the lessons learnt, having assessed the impact of storms on our infrastructure. As a result, the reconstruction of the Carr’s Bay Bridge, the Barzey’s Bridge, the Collin’s Ghaut Bridge, the Cassava Ghaut Bridge, the Runway Ghaut’s Bridge and the Nante’s River Bridge was completed. It is the Ministry’s intention to continue working to improve the drainage network and infrastructure gradually. Some priority areas would be Emma’s Ghaut and St. Peter’s one-way culverts.

:The October 13th, 2021 event again highlights the vulnerability of the low-lying areas. The Carr’s Bay area is no exception. According to the Physical Development Plan of Montserrat, the area is designated as a flood zone and can be easily impacted by the rise in sea level as well. A flood simulation modeling exercise was carried out by Halcrow in 2012 and by all indications, the Carr’s Bay area is prone to flooding especially with above average rainfall. This is further exacerbated with some areas being below sea-level. As recent as 2008, flood waters overflowed the old Carr’s Bridge during a storm. This gives an indication of the effects of climate change and hence the new bridge established in 2019 was constructed with an increased capacity level.
“We do appreciate the various recommendations received on improving our drainage infrastructure. We will take into consideration the suggestions offered bearing in mind the recommenders’ knowledge of the history of the area.
:The Public Works Department (PWD) is currently conducting clean-up works and would carry out continuous assessments with the aim of making improvements. We will work towards increasing the drainage capacity in Brades and will continue to work with the operators and land owners in the Carr’s Bay area on ways to mitigate the impact of future flooding,” the statement ends.