Starting the month on a strong note, Dominica celebrated 1 May 2017 with the opening of Roseau’s new West Bridge. The Bridge, an EC$18,182,437.35 project, is one of the crowning projects of the Skerrit Administration following the passage of Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 – demonstrating the ability for resilience and rebirth of the nation’s capital.
Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit addressed thousands of citizens at the opening ceremony, and launched an appeal to locals to suggest a new name for the Bridge, to be announced on 3 November 2017, Independence Day. He also entreated Dominicans to take care of the Bridge, and proudly noted that: “This bridge we are commissioning today is but the first phase of what is earmarked to become the gradual and deliberate modernization of Roseau. It will not all be accomplished under my watch, but I am determined to lay and leave the foundation of a new Dominica capital city; that will not only be the envy of the Caribbean, but the pride and joy of every Dominican, resident at home and abroad.”
The Bridge was constructed by NSG Management and Technical Services Limited of Barbados, which was in charge of demolishing the previous bridge and completing all aspects of rebuilding. The construction phase alone resulted in the hiring of 253 Dominicans, and seven non-citizens, all of which were applauded by the company for their ability to deliver the Bridge “on time and on budget.”
But the new West Bridge is just one iteration of Dominica’s commitment to restoring its infrastructure in the wake of the storm. Senator Miriam Blanchard, Dominica’s Minister for Public Works, said the project only heralds the end of phase one of the Roseau Enhancement Project – and that more is to follow. Three streets – Independence Street, Great George Street, and King George V Street – will also be repaired.
Another bridge in the capital, the Emmanuel Christopher Loblack (E. C. Loblack) Bridge, which celebrates one of Dominica’s most prominent politicians and trade unionists, was also restored with the consent and approval of Mr Loblack’s children.