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Troughs before 2013 Christmas trough system

Troughs before  2013 Christmas trough system

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The trough system of Christmas 2013 caused the loss of 12 lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

However, that system was not the only one in recent history to have done considerable damage, even to the pipelines of our hydroelectricity generating plants.

In the first week {{more}}of October 1977, after an overnight trough system, the Richmond river overflowed its banks, filling the reservoir with sand, boulders and debris, breaking and mangling hundreds of feet of the wooden pipes that conducted water to the Richmond generating plant. That 1977 trough system also destroyed the first Richmond river bridge and a large section of the Richmond road after the banana boxing plant collapsed into the river.

In October of 1980, a trough system destroyed the Spring Village Bridge; a diversion road was cut along the southern bank of the river and led to a shallow section were a concrete ramp was built for vehicles to cross. The present Bailey bridge at Spring Village replaced the concrete structure that was lost in’ 77.

On September 2, 1986, residents of the North Leeward woke up to intermittent rain, massive landslides and widespread damage to infrastructure and property. Five persons were injured, including a teenager who was swept away in a land slide into the Sharpes river. He was able to cling to a golden apple tree root that was in the water and pull himself to safety. Others were taken to hospital in Kingstown by boat, as the roads were blocked by multiple landslides and the bridge that connects Chateaubelair and Fitz-Hughes was also destroyed.

Gabion baskets were placed at points along the Chateaubelair and Fitz-Hughes river along the VINLEC compound and persons who lost their homes or were threatened by the river were relocated to Golden Grove and Fitz-Hughes beyond the aquaduct.

Alvan Hall, a retired VINLEC employee told SEARCHLIGHT that he was the supervisor in charge at the Richmond plant in 1977 when the trough system hit.

“The damage was extensive, Dark View was a mess and the damage could have been more as there were river defences there at the time,” Hall said.

River defences in the form of Gabion baskets were installed along the river banks at Dark View and reconstruction work was done on the pipes. Many young people from the area were hired for the duration of the construction.(AC)

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