Bridge damage has cut off a third of community
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – While Andros appears to be outside the cone of Tropical Storm Laura, Central Island Administrator Glenn Lightbourn said today he is satisfied the island is prepared, notwithstanding challenges related to damage to the bridge in Fresh Creek.
The bridge connects a third of the community.
“In Central Andros we are juggling two crises,” Lightbourn said around 11am.
“I don’t know if you are familiar with the incident of our bridge in Fresh Creek.
“In fact, that’s what we are in a Zoom meeting addressing what our alternatives are and the possibility of a storm is also a part of that meeting.”
A tropical storm watch and alert remains in effect for the southeastern and central Bahamas respectively, as Tropical Storm Laura shifts west in the Atlantic.
While an alert or watch has not been issued for the northwest Bahamas, meteorologist encouraged residents to pay attention to future updates.
Earlier models, while Laura was still a tropical depression, placed the weather system on a path for Andros as a tropical storm.
On the forecast track as of 11am, the center of the storm is expected to now move near or over the northern Leeward Islands later today, near or over Puerto Rico Saturday morning, and near the northern coast of Hispaniola late Saturday and early Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Lightbourn also encouraged residents on the island to be prepared, noting the recent brush from Hurricane Isaias earlier this month.
“As it (Laura) approaches, we will just raise the level as we need to,” he said.
He continued: “I want persons in the Central Andros district to be careful and remain lockdown. While this storm does not seem to be a major threat, we certainly want to be ready for the water that seems to be traveling with it. And if there is an urgent need for assistance, we will put the numbers out there.”
As it relates to shelters, Lightbourn said notwithstanding Isaias, officials were unable to test the shelter capacity and protocols in light of the ongoing COVID pandemic as no residents sought shelter.
“We had no one register in any of our shelters, amid the COVID crisis
“We have one of our churches where a door got damaged, but what they did is they just put plywood across there, but I would describe it as damage.”
There are six available shelters.
Asked about the cost of the bridge, Lightbourn said a replacement is being eyed, though he was unable to provide cost.
The mailboat was set to leave the island on Wednesday.
Amid strong winds and currents, the vessel is believed to have come into contact with the bridge.
The matter is still being investigated, according to officials.