Extreme weather conditions have now made it impossible for residents in north and South Eleuthera to traverse the island without a boat. A video circulating on social media shows water gushing across queen’s highway that has been split in two by water from the sea, in an area called the sandpit. Minister of Public Works the Hon. Desmond Bannister says engineers are taking in the shocking conditions, and are preparing a report. In one place just down from the bridge we have an area where the water has cut through the road almost eight feet deep, so we have some serious conditions that have been impacting the people in North Eleuthera that we have to look at very seriously and we are doing that right now.
The Minister of Works says the latest development is seriously impacting the mobility of residents who have to maneuver between settlements. He went on to say ” I understand that they have some ferry services. Obviously, the Ministry of Works has to take it very seriously and see what we can do about creating a safe passage for people in that community”. The ministers who recently expressed concerns over conditions of the Glass Window Bridge says while government must find a long-term solution for the people of Eleuthera, the Glass Window Bridge should not be a part of a long-term plan, instead, it must budget for a new bridge this year. The bridge has been closed due to the harsh weather conditions and waves churning as high a 40 feet battering the bridge. One resident has washed away and had to be transported to the capital after sustaining injuries, while a search and rescue is underway for a tourist caught in the onslaught. In the short term, Bannister says once conditions calm, a ministry of works team will return.
The Minister continued by saying “The only thing we can do is look at the bridge and see whether it is structurally sound and if it is then we will do whatever we can to make it passable. the reality is the longterm solution to building a new bridge which could cost $30 to $40 million. Here in the capital where debris was pushed into the road due to extreme weather, the public works minister says teams are cleaning up”. He says the country has secured an IDB loan to address issues along the country’s coastlines”.
“We are going to be seeking to replant mangroves, which is really better shore protection than these walls we are putting up. We’ll be seeking to remove all these Casuarina trees which cause erosion to happen a lot quicker than they have been happening”. Bannister says due to the challenges of erosion, protecting the country’s shorelines will be critical moving forward.