Santo Domingo – Last Saturday, in the midst of the intense rains that affected the country, a part of a wall of the overpass between 27 de Febrero and Maximo Gomez avenues, in Santo Domingo, collapsed, leaving nine people dead.
However, 24 years earlier, experts from the Dominican College of Engineers, Architects and Surveyors (Codia) recommended replacing it, after determining in a report that there were “structural failures” in the construction of the work after an incident similar to the one yesterdayaccording to a report from that time in the defunct Dominican newspaper El Siglo.
Among the experts who participated in the aforementioned report is the geologist Osiris de Leon who spoke with Daily Listwho highlighted the similarity of both cases and explained what happened before the collapse.
“What happened in 1999 was the same thing that happened now, it rained torrentially, the limestone in Santo Domingo is very porous and very cavernous. This causes that limestone to become saturated quickly and when it becomes saturated, what is called pore pressure rises,” said de Leon.
The geologist added that if the pore pressure is not released, it “pushes” the wall and eventually the pressure exceeds the resistance of the wall and causes it to fall.
Likewise, he assured that Saturday’s failure did not occur due to lack of maintenance, but rather was an inevitable incident due to failures since the conception of that project.
“What happened on Saturday had nothing to do with maintenance. Nothing to see, that falls new or old… That’s where the deficiency is (in the way the overpass was structured),” he asserted.
Only part was corrected
The geologist regretted that, after the partial fall of the wall 24 years ago, the renovation carried out by the then Ministry of Public Works (directed by Diandino Pena) was only in the affected part, but not in the entire uneven step.
“I did an evaluation in 1999 and made a series of recommendations (which) were only applied to that wall, but not to the others,” he said.
What to do now?
De Leon indicated that although the part of the wall that fell on Saturday was not the same as 24 years ago, the recommendations he made then are applicable today.
The first of the recommendations is the need to transversally brace the other walls, as occurs in the overpasses on Avenida 27 de Febrero with Dr. Defillo, Carmen Mendoza de Cornielle, Nunez de Caceres and Privada.
Likewise, he pointed out that the four walls must be properly anchored and with sufficient drainage so that, when it rains heavily, it does not cause damage.
The 1999 recommendations
“El Codia recommended that the Ministry of Public Works renovate and replace the reconstructed northern side wall of the 27 de Febrero overpass with Maximo Gomez because it could fall and cause a tragic accident,” reported El Siglo.
Similarly, the report highlighted the need to reformulate the storm drainage of the overpass because, failing that, it would cause the “walls to collapse.”
According to the count of the National Police, the total number of victims of the collapse of the wall of the overpass on 27 de Febrero and Maximo Gomez avenues was nine.
The deceased were identified as Omar Alejandro Mendez Aviles, 70 years old; Solange Maria Mendez, 31; Haitian Bonet Dobelier, 35; Ramon Martinez Cesani, 75; Awilda Vazquez Burgos, 68; Maria Nereyda Martinez Vazquez, 32; the Puerto Rican Michael Orozco Marin; General Eduardo Cabrera Castillo, 65.
A Haitian citizen who could not be named also lost her life, since she did not have documentation.