Repairs started on Vigilance seawall
Stabroek News
August 13, 2002

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The Guyana Sea Defence's East Coast Demerara branch has begun repair work on a 30-foot section of the Vigilance seawall which crumbled last Friday as a result of unusually high tides.

And several residents who were uneasy after the wall had collapsed were in high praise of the men who were able to go a very far way in their work yesterday.

Public Relations Officer in the Works Ministry, Ajay Baksh said that the wall crumbled as a result of an unusually high tide during the past week. He said that the Hydrometeorological Department had published a notice warning citizens of the unusually high tide.

Baksh said that the sea defence department had been on the alert ever since the notice was published. He said, however, that it did not respond immediately to the problem at Vigilance because during the weekend it had rained heavily causing the access road to be soggy and unaccommodating to traffic.

According to the PRO, the unusually high tide, which began last Wednesday, will conclude today.

He said apart from Vigilance, other areas around the country had been affected by the high tide. Among them, he cited Aurora on the Essequibo Coast. Baksh said that several yards in that area are under water. But he described the flooding as minor, adding that it is due to overtopping.

He said that the rising water caused the Supenaam River to overspill into canals and eventually into residents' yards. Also, he said, in Pheonix, Leguan, there had been reports of minor flooding owing to the unusually high tide. However, Baksh stated that the ministry had earlier employed a contractor in the area to repair a dam and he is at present erecting a wall.

There are also reports of minor flooding in Salem, East Bank Essequibo, Baksh said.

Speaking to Stabroek News at Vigilance, a work site engineer for the project, Mike Lall said that he was satisfied with the amount of work his men were able to accomplish yesterday. The entire section that crumbled was partly sealed with mass cement and stone. The men have also erected a stone barrier in front of the fallen wall. Light showers yesterday morning had halted progress briefly. Lall said that if everything goes according to schedule the entire breach will be repaired by midday today.

The rising water destroyed the foundation of the coping wall and the workers had to rebuild it. Lall said that the structure that collapsed was made from sand, cement and steel but the one that they are replacing it with would be made of mass concrete along with steel reinforcement. He said that this new structure is expected to last longer than the current one which had been in use for over 40 years. The engineer said that whenever a seawall is breached this new type of structure is what the Guyana Sea Defence would normally use.

While Lall and his workers were busily engaged in rebuilding the wall, a large section in that same block was seen with huge cracks in the middle.

Residents said that similar cracks like those were seen on the now broken wall and opined that that would have contributed towards the collapse.