Charity embankment needs to be redone

-Chief River Defence Officer

The entire Charity embankment will need to be redone to stave off further damage, according to Chief Sea and River Defence Officer Geoffrey Vaughn, who says the Public Works Ministry is currently conducting research to determine what will need to be done before heavy duty trucks are allowed to again use the road to the Charity Wharf.

In light of concerns by residents over the deteriorating river defences, heavy-duty trucks and equipment were from Monday prohibited from using the roadway to the wharf.

Vaughn said that the roadway itself had dropped so the area that is used to offload at the stelling will flood. “Heavy duty trucks in the area compound the issue. The total embankment has been affected,” he explained. Ministry engineers are now trying to determine the technical assessment that will be needed, he added, before a cost can be determined.

Vaughn stated that many of the trucks being used are often overloaded and this has been a major contributor to the damage to the river defences. He noted that once the embankment was redone, the Regional Democratic Council would need to put provisions in place to monitor the trucks being used.

He said that the ministry has not placed a definitive weight restriction and engineers on the ground are currently conducting visual inspections of trucks traversing the area to determine if they are allowed or not.

Meanwhile, Senior District Engineer Maitland Stewart told Stabroek News that research to determine how to address the situation would focus on depth measurements of the Pomeroon River and would include a geotechnical investigation to verify the clay and earth type along the embankment, and hydrographic land surveys. He said that the most common solution to address deteriorating sea defences along rivers is revetments but given that the Pomeroon River is one of the deepest, with some points being up to 80 feet deep, thorough research had to be done to prevent the same issues now plaguing the area from recurring.

Stabroek News was told that pile driving can cost up to $1 million per pile but the ministry will be doing majority of the works save for the geotechnical investigations, which may be contracted out.

Several persons living in the area said then that the dam is being washed away because of the concrete wharf and gas station that were recently erected there, however, ministry officials denied that the construction has had any affect.

Residents had voiced concerns that the embankment had fallen over two feet and as a result flooding could destroy the entire area. When Stabroek News visited the area, the tide was high and sections of the eroded dam were clearly visible.

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