More than 800 metres of sea defence repairs have been completed on the West Coast of Demerara.
According to the Ministry of Public Infras-tructure’s Project Coordi-nator Dennis Ramsingh, the works, carried out at Wallers Delight and Windsor Forest, were critical because of the rapid destruction of mangrove trees over the years. These trees died as a result of a natural erosion cycle.
“Had government not taken the intervention to construct riprap sea-defences then there would have been lots of damage and breaches of the embankment. That would have caused inundation to immediate residential agricultural land. But because we were monitoring the area over some time, we had seen the need to take this intervention early,” the Department of Public Information (DPI) reported Ramsingh as saying.
In a release from DPI, it was reported that the project, which commenced in November 2017, dealt with reconstruction of the slope and toe of the seaward slope of the sea defence and construction of the rip rap. The latter involved excavation; sand filling; and the placement of geotextile fabric, the under layer and the armour stone. The riprap, built of rock and other materials, and which is used to protect the shoreline, is said to require less maintenance and is more flexible. Additio-nally, most of the materials for its construction are available locally.
Similar works were also completed at Windsor Forest. “Works were identified at this area (Windsor Forest) because we had aged concrete sea-defences with low crest elevation which contributed to severe overtopping during peak spring tide period. The ministry took the initiative to replace that aged concrete structure with 300 meters of riprap sea-defences,” Ramsingh stated. It was related that the project was conducted in three phases, with BK International having repaired a total of 560 meters of the sea defence (in two phases), and Toolsie Persaud Construc-tion completing 300 meters.
The final stage of the project was said to have been delayed due to challenges including having a regular supply of sand available and having construction delayed because of the need to remove decayed mangrove trees before the commencement of excavation works. However, it was noted that the project was completed ahead of schedule.
The release also noted that there are plans underway for sea defence works at the West Coast villages of Den Amstel, Uitvlugt and Leonora, areas which were flooded in March this year due to overtopping. The release stated that the designs for the construction works have already been prepared and contracts have already been awarded. Physical work should commence shortly and will be completed in phases.