Arugambay Bridge

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The US 10Mill$ Arugam to Pottuvil bridge has widely been reported at global level.
It is the first, large and most welcome investment right there in the -still- worst affected area of Tsu. hit Sri Lanka.
Locals are happy and express some hope:
But: Will it help US? has been asked why we just reprint USAID and US State Dept. PR press releases.
And why don’t we cover the actual construction progress, being right here on our doorstep.
The simple answer is that there is no real progress to report from bridge head.
However, an eminent Chartered Civil Engineer is busy with an extensive study of this impressive Public Service project.
We are promised frequent reports, once work has commenced.
A local quantity surveyor has also kindly agreed to let us have frequent details and realistic cost estimates, as observed at local level.
At present, there is no activity at all. To date some Labourers have basically, partly and simply rebuild the southern 70m causeway, using sandbags and aggregate. USA Contractors CH2MHill have therefore just replaced the earth & material which was in fact the only major damage the road link sustained during the Tsunami.

We recall that this quick and low cost, very simple landfill operation was in fact proposed back in December 2004, partly or mainly using rubble from all the broken buildings, from both ends of the bridge. As a result Arugam Bay would have been re-connected to the mainland within days and may have progressed quicker in its own recovery. The anticipated side effect would have been that all rubbish would not have been scattered without any plan throughout the Countryside. And of course it would have totally eliminated the need of the small Bailey bridge constructed by the Indian Army as a temporary measure.

However, the funds and contracts are in place and we will let you know how this impressive landmark Friendship Bridge progresses.
Reports that the same multi Million Dollar US Contract includes various other improvements such as fishing harbours relate, as usual, to the South Coast and have no obvious connection with the dire situation experienced at Arugam Bay.

Below is a link to last year’s USAid “Environmental Assessment” study – known ever since asA?A? “US – AbaY Turtle” or EMU study in some quarters.
If you are somewhat qualified or interested just download the (virus free) pdf file, consider its merits and let us simple Arugam peasants know if you are also totally impressed; as all the invited natives were ( expats or qualified local professionals were not invited or considered to be worthwhile ‘stakeholders’ at its initial presentation, see appendix page 95)
Purchase fucidin pomade usaid-assesment.pdf

20 Responses to “Arugambay Bridge”

  • AND FINALLY,MY last question is…… With 25% of Americans having genital herpes and 80% having oral herpes,do we really need their help or indeed want them anywhere near us?They cannot even look after themselves.Jackson.

  • Nigel,You are correct.However to describe the U.S. as a great civilisation akin to Rome or Greece is a bit of a worry,at best it was a tossed salad that stayed too long in the sun,unfortunately many people ate the salad before they realised it was contaminated.Jackson.

  • Poor old uncle Shiver…maybe he only wanted to know if Americans also pollute their lagoons,- at home!
    Jackson, thanks for your observations – many couldn’t have put it in better words than you.
    I don’t suppose that this little AbaY site will change all what has wrong over there.
    But it is great to make the locals aware of US intentions. I think many, specially Muslims, suspect what you are saying anyhow; they just take what they can from any donor and are of course nothing but short sighted.
    However, US foreign policy has very few friends these days. But I feel we are just witnessing the end of another great ‘civilization’ – they tend to come and go: China, Rome, Greece, the Germans and so on.
    The Euro has long surpassed the greenback, and it will be the total end of the $$$ when the oil barrels are noted in E’s; many Arabs are looking forward to this day.
    India’ IT and outsourcing is already near perfect and …China has already eclipsed the ‘great USofA in many, many ways.
    The best of it is that the Yanks are still so cock sure of their world leadership role that they haven’t even noticed it back there in SillyCon Vally!
    (I truly love my Chinese made IBM Think pad!)
    Nige – on the way to the red fox in Virgin land.

  • Finally, we know that President Bush is the only leader in the world to have waved hello to Stevie Wonder and on a recent trip to Pakistan announced he was glad to be in another Arab Country,Yep, American policy is right on track and consistent with a nation that only abolished slavery as an econmic system in 1865 and gave blacks the vote in the 1960s;As our world quickly vanishes and President Bush announces he does not believe in global warming and legalises oil drilling in Alaska,we should all be concerned.What are the cattle really telling Mr.Bush on his ranch in Crawford,Texas?Maybe we will never know,my bet it is a matter of national security,J

  • Shiva,It has long been thought, that the U.S. intends to use Trincomalee as a harbour for its warships.It is also believed U.S. aid in the East of Sri Lanka is connected to that strategy.Does anybody really want this situation?This nation bombed Vietnam,Cambodia and Laos back to the stone age by using chemical weapons in the form of Agent Orange and Napalm.In the process millions of lives were lost and destroyed.Not a single apology has been offered since!But the U.S. has called Sadam Hussein a naughty boy for using chemical weapons and had him hanged.In their invasion of Iraq they said there were weapons of Mass Destruction and that justified bombing Iraq back to the stone age but guess what?There were no weapons of mass destruction,the only weapons found were those the U.S. and U.K. had sold Iraq.At the time of Iraqs invasion of Kuwait Sadam had met with the U.S. Embassador to Iraq,April Gladsby and asked what the U.S. policy on invading Kuwait might be and she told him the U.S. had no policy.We now know that when the U.S. invaded Somalia,they could not find Mohammed Farah Aideed because his son was a U.S. marine trained in San Diego who called dad every morning and let him know what was happening.Now dad is dead he is the new warlord.After the twin towers were bombed three of the bombers whose names had been widely published and had died in the bombings were given permanent residence in the U.S. by their department of immigration.A third of Americans are on illegal drugs,another third are on prescription drugs,a third of Americans have no medical insurance and a third live below the poverty line.Just what can the U.S. do for Sri Lanka?Well so far they helped sell the government warplanes from Israel.Jackson.

  • Shiva,No they do not but lets have a 10 point quiz anyway.Which country is the only one in the world to have dropped atomic bombs on civilian populations and wiped out hundreds of human beings,many of whom were left crawling along the groung,dragging their skins behind them?Name the worlds major polluting country that still has not signed the World Enviromental Treaty?Which nation in the world has killed more people than any other in exporting tobacco products that are known to be deadly and at the same time bombs coca farmers in Columbia and Afghanistan for producing an agricultural product harmful to its citizens?What country is the only nation to have 2 million of its own citizens imprisoned?Name the country that kidnaps and imprisons hundreds of citizens from all over the world and holds them without any legal process at all for over five years?Where is the only nation in the Western world where workers only receive 10 days holiday a year?What country attacked its neighbour and stole half its land mass and then built a wall to prevent that nations citizens from being able to even visit that seized homeland?Which country says it believes in Democracy but regularly overthrows democratically elected governments it does not like and cannot even count its own election results in a Presidential election?In what state are their 260,000 kidnappings a year and 50,000 murders a year?Well if you answered the United States of America to each and every Question you are correct.Thank goodness they are only building the bridge and how lucky we all are to have the benefit of their wisdom and consideration especially since they remain the only western nation that does not separate its garbage and I mean this in more ways than one.

  • Jackson, do people in the USA protect the environment at home?
    I tell you what is happening for the past months. They are dumping thousands of NON- Bio degradable plastic sand/mud bags into the lagoon, that’s all.
    Our labourers don’t know the damage they are causing – they get paid 10 rupees for each bag and they are happy.
    But our beautiful lagoon already looks like a rubbish dump.

  • Nigel,Let us just hope these guys from U.S. AID know more about constrction than they do about the menu at the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg,Virginia—-Jackson.

  • ็Have I missed a reply of Ms. Amy, USAid or indeed Ms. Lyn of Mercy Corps?
    I am usually not for posting comments, as I am a quiet reader.
    But I must say I somehow start to like these provocative pages!
    Maybe the BIG US guys underestimate the power of modern day internet?
    I am aware that the previous AbHa newsletters had 4,000 on its mailing list and most guys who are on it seem to have a special interest in the Bay.
    How many like me follow this site, which seem to be one of few hosted in Sri Lanka?
    OK, many don’t really like the approach and constant criticism these pages are now rather famous for.
    But: Slowly I can see the point these desperate guys wish to make.
    My considered personal advice to the USA NGO Giants is: Please respond and put the record straight!
    If you are about to do good work – like Mercy Corps – most of your achievements might be eroded by negative press and similar comments unless you also have a voice HERE.

    working for a S.L. NGO

  • Ah, I have missed all this playful banter Fred. What a shame Ramesh and I missed out on a free lunch and 1,000rs cash to boot (unless Jay would also have cleaned up?)

    Thanks for all you continue to do

    We will see you soon


  • I am also unable to say what USAid does, will do or what their ultimate goals are.
    But as I was invited I went to the meeting yesterday and I can give a brief summary:
    I went, rather doubtful, just as an observer, expecting nothing more than another public relations exercise.
    Well, it was.
    Key questions which couldn’t be answered were:
    1.) What is the final design going to be like?
    2.) What is the final position of the new bridge? East or West of the old one?
    3.) Is there an engineer’s report condemning the old existing bridge?
    Mrs. Amy Bodman, the P.C. Management Leader promised to let us have the answers by email soon.
    The meeting was obviously intended to win over public sympathy for the project and its US-Indian contractors.
    With free refreshments, lunch packets and a cash gift of 500Rs./ in an envelope upon departure the 80 locals certainly were impressed.
    So at least 40,000Rs./ were directly injected into the local community, on a fine Saturday morning.
    On an even more positive side, 5 work groups were formed, to represent the main interested stake holders, such as Hotels, Fisheries, health & safety etc.
    Eager discussions followed, and each group had to identify what concerns them most.
    Again, some results were unclear, some were presented in Tamil or Sinhala.
    As soon as we receive the minutes of the meeting we will; be able to post what eventually was decided.
    Many groups thought that piped water supply as well as stable mains electricity power caused common concern by all.
    USAid has stated that they will address the water supply problem, the bridge is due to be completed within a year or so (parts are shipped in from Indonesia).
    It now remains to be seen, if all the very useful and well founded concerns expressed by the public are actually taken notice of.
    WE will report again if there are developments.

  • What does U.S.AID do really? its boss in Arugam Bay since arriving has rented a house from the mafioso boss in town,used the labourers that should be working on the bridge to clean up his garden,brought over his diving gear especilly,from the States, for he and his wife,so they can go swimming in their SPARE TIME,entertained endlessly at the Stardust,the most expensive venue in town and had manicures at the Continental Hotel in Colombo where the U.S.AID personnel are habitually put up and entertain all at U.S.AID expense.These guys come away from middle class obscurity to live it up at tax payers expense in a lifestyle they could never afford back in the USofA.What a rort!Do not expect too much work to be completed on schedule.

  • Sudu,What are you, another George Bush Yank?Legal or not who cares!How about respecting other countries laws and international law as well,we do not need this yankee way of doing business,let them go home and rebuild New Orleans or for that matter Bagdad too,Jackson

  • Legal or not.
    Who cares as long as things get done.
    Today we couldn’t reach to Panama, Okanda or indeed Kumana. A submarine would be useful for US to reach Kalmunai, Batti or perhaps, Trinco….
    Ok, the new & fantastic European Union machinery which we admired so much when it arrived as a ‘rapid EU response unit’ back in July 2006 -without any drivers- is now gone from Panama without doing any work at all.
    But you got these great H2O? sustainable Eco. PR guys and their 10 Mill. Dollar equipment parked up nearby.
    Why don’t they spend an hour or so to make at least SOME roads passable.
    Lack of coordination? In year 3 a.T.?
    Who cares if they operate legal or not – if something useful is actually done?
    And your people are not displaced or cut off for some silly admin. reason.

  • Tom,You cannot be awarded a tender anywhere if you do not have the right as a foreign company to work in the country you are tendering for,it is completely illegal and U.S.AID fully know that,Jackson

  • I am confused:
    What is actually wrong with the original bridge?
    It looked OK to me last year.
    Has it ever been declared unsafe?
    I can’t find an engineer’s report online, is there one?

  • Permit? What permit? Who has actually got one and what for in this Country??
    In any event this huge contract must be be able to buy one.
    But maybe it explains the lack of progress so far.
    So What? The main issue is that this, one project seems to go ahead.
    No doubt that the whole thing will certainly help the BIG US(of A), contractors and ….. – but the main question at local level still remains: How, if and when will the bridge contract actually help small ‘us’, the badly affected people. Here in Bankrupt Bay?
    So far it has not. At all, I am informed.

  • Is anyone aware that the Indian company given the contract to build the bridge by USAID via tender still does not have the permit to build in Sri Lanka?

  • The SVH has been advised that there will be a workshop titled:
    “Participatory Rapid Assessment Pottuvil – Arugam Bay”
    at the Dvisional Secretariat on 20th January, 2007 (09:30 – 13:30).
    It is unclear if this is a open meeting or if USAid is looking to invite only selected parties, as it was previous practice.
    However, interested parties are encuraged to gain more details, as per last paragraph of the invite letter:
    “Thank you in advance for accepting our invitation to participate in this event.
    Please feel free to contact myself (077-359-6776) or my colleague Kapila Gunarathne (071-4144752) if you have any questions or concerns.
    Best regards
    Amy Bodman
    Participatory Coastal Managment Lead
    (no email contact on any USAID correspondence)

    07 August 2006
    Tel: 94 (11) 249-8113
    Fax: 94 (11) 244-9070
    Release no. 20060807
    RDA Chairman M.B.S. Fernando joins U.S. Chargé d’ Affaires James Moore, USAID Director Dr. Carol Becker and CH2M Hill Chief of Party Teny Mittal. Photo: USAID/Zack Taylor
    RDA Chairman M.B.S. Fernando joins U.S. Chargé d’ Affaires James Moore, USAID Director Dr. Carol Becker and CH2M Hill Chief of Party Teny Mittal. Photo: USAID/Zack Taylor
    An artist’s rendition of the new Arugam Bay Bridge, with pedestrian walkways and light poles. Photo: Courtesy CH2M Hill.
    An artist’s rendition of the new Arugam Bay Bridge, with pedestrian walkways and light poles. Photo: Courtesy CH2M Hill.

    ARUGAM BAY ,August 7, 2006 – The U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) officially commenced work on a state-of-the-art bridge over Arugam Bay. The new bridge will replace the original bridge that was devastated in the tsunami and is the single largest infrastructure project in USAID’s Sri Lanka Tsunami Reconstruction Program (SLTRP).

    Designed to last 100 years, the two spans totaling 185 meters will connect the communities of Pottuvil, Arugam Bay and Panama to enhance economic expansion of the fishing, agriculture and tourist industries. Construction of 900 meters of asphalt paved access roads, and improvements to water supply systems will complement the improved access the new bridge will foster tourism for scenic Arugam Bay. The value of the project is approximately $10.6 million.

    The groundbreaking ceremony included Chairman of the Road Development Authority, M. B. S. Fernando, USAID Director Dr. Carol Becker, and U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires James Moore in his first official function since arriving in Sri Lanka. Several hundred community members participated in the event.

    “No one can repair the loss of life wrought by the tsunami,” said Dr. Becker said. “Yet reconstruction affords us the opportunity to help the country develop economically. Beautiful Arugam Bay has tremendous potential to be a highlight of Sri Lanka for tourists, and we hope a strong permanent bridge across the bay and infrastructure improvements in the surrounding areas will bring together ethnically diverse communities in the east.”

    The plan for the development scheme was created in consultation with the people of Pottuvil, Arugam Bay and Panama. Women and members of all the various ethnic and religious communities enthusiastically embraced the new bridge and water supply improvements, expressing hope that the project would bring them out of the relative isolation experienced due to location and years of conflict.

    “Other projects have come to our area, but they did not bother to talk to the community,” said Niroshana Silva, Chairman of the Lahugala Pradesha Saba, and resident of Panama. “The bridge is important for all the people living in this area. Given this opportunity, we must try to cooperate on the issues we raise and bend our heads for the greater good.”

    The project will be executed by an American firm, CH2M Hill. Community consultations established that the local work force will be utilized as much as possible, and continued strong community support will be a key factor in ensuring the success of the project.

    “This contribution of the United States will have a lasting impact on these communities,” said Mr. Moore. “For a long time, the beauty of Arugam Bay has been one of Sri Lanka’s best-kept secrets. We are confident these infrastructure improvements will bring the communities in the area together and improve their lives.”


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