It’s rainy season, and one of the great dangers of rainy season is flash flooding. (Another huge danger is landslides, but this post isn’t about landslides.) About a month ago a river near the village of Monte de la Virgin experienced a gigantic flash flood. In telling me about the event, Russell said to try to imagine that a small river suddenly was engulfed by the waters of the Mississippi. A wide swath of land on both sides of the river lost plants and soil, so that now there is a huge rocky bed with a smallish river running through it.
See the man? I circled him so you could find him easier. I wanted you to see him, to get a sense of the scale of the destruction. Before the flash flood, soil and plants covered most of the area up to the edge of the water in this picture (on the day this photo was taken, the water level of the river was a bit lower than average). Contrast that with the current situation, and you can see that the amount of water needed to tear out both banks of the river like this must have been amazing!
One of the bridges we built in the past few years spans this river. It is a swinging or cable bridge (a direct translation of the Spanish name for this type of bridge is a “hammock bridge.”) The construction of this bridge makes it suitable for small vehicle traffic, up to pickup trucks. During the flood, the water rose above the level of the bridge deck, and did some damage to the cables holding up the bridge, as well as to the boards which were used to create the deck, and to the side rails. The whole bridge took a lot of pulling and wrenching.
Six cables run under the deck of the bridge. Two of those cables broke, and three others needed to be tightened back up. After the damage and until the repairs were completed, people continued to use a bridge that only had one of these lower cables functioning correctly. Russell said he saw a car cross the bridge – and that the bridge was sagging down into a “V” shape with the weight of that car!
Fortunately we had some cable on hand, so we were able to make the replacements. The local government supplied the lumber to repair and replace the bridge deck.
Russell and our crew of workers completed those repairs last week, so now the people of that area can safely cross their bridge again . . . and our crew has been able to get back to work on the construction of our house! Yay on both counts!