From: The Living Islands Project
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Map - In the Newspapers
Why the Suspension Bridge Failed - Replacing the Lance Mitan Bridge
Damaged Boat - Damaged Flat Bridge

The Collapse of The Lance Mitan Suspension Bridge

Trinidad   On Carnival Sunday 22nd February 1998, at around 2pm(1) in the afternoon, the Lance Mitan suspension bridge crossing the Moruga river failed. An open van carrying six persons, with a lady walking behind(2), were on the bridge when it collapsed due to old age and lack of maintenance. Fishermen, based at the side of the bridge, helped rescue the passengers of the submerged van which included two children. No one was seriously hurt and luckily the fishermen’s quick intervention prevented anyone from drowning.

Map - Moruga   A fishing perogue, moored down-river and under the bridge, suffered slight damage to its deck as it was ‘sunk’ near the bank by debris from the falling bridge. The boat was re-floated without too much difficulty afterwards. The van was later ‘winched’ on its side out of the river before being ‘righted’ and towed away by a ‘wrecker’ truck.

   People and vehicles returning after a day at the ‘beach’, East of Moruga Point and better known to those from the south, discovered that they were stranded. The fishermen again came to the rescue by ferrying them across the river. How their vehicles made the crossing on ‘make-shift’ rafts is another story as yet to be revealed.

Lance Mitan Suspension Bridge - Before collapse Lance Mitan Suspension Bridge - Before collapse

   I had first crossed the Lance Mitan bridge and visited the ‘beach’ in the early 1990's. At that time I had doubts about crossing the bridge in a car. When I returned some years later with members of my family to revisit the unusually fascinating geological strata that comprise the cliff face of the ‘beach’, I insisted they walk over the bridge before I drove the car over by myself. The first pictures included here are from that visit on the 14th August 1997. Subsequent pictures were taken on the 25th February 1998, on an investigative visit after news of the bridges collapse.

Lance Mitan Suspension Bridge - Sign1   Situated in an area variously referred to as La Trate, La Retraite, and La Ruffin - no one quite seems to know exactly - in the district of Moruga, county of Victoria, the suspension bridge was built by the public works department under the directorship of Walsh Wrightson Esq in 1899. As the now broken sign proclaims (see below), the Lance Mitan bridge was maintained by the wardens department up to 1952 and limits the weight of crossing vehicular traffic to 2-tonnes (Imperial). In 1953 the bridge became the responsibility of the Victoria County Council who assigned its maintenance to the Princes Town Regional Corporation.
   A second faded sign on the bridge, reported
(3) to have been placed on the bridge about a year ago, but from its state more likely to have existed for the past 5 to 10 years states ‘NOTICE Bridge closed to vehicular traffic’.
   This sign has always been ignored.

Lance Mitan Suspension Bridge - After collapse Lance Mitan Suspension Bridge - After collapse

The collapsed Lanse Mitan suspension bridge.

Map - In the Newspapers
Why the Suspension Bridge Failed - Replacing the Lance Mitan Bridge
Damaged Boat - Damaged Flat Bridge

Map: Edition 5; Maping and Control Lands & Surveys Division
Ministry of Planning & Mobilisation © 1990: Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago
Images: Digital CASIO QV-100 © 1998:
The Living Islands Project
© 1998: - 980308
Last Update: 02 June 1998 00:00:00
Processed by: Jeremy G de Barry
Back to Ref: Suspension Bridge
Welcome to The Lance Mitan suspension bridge project. Press for update when On-Line; or copy PAGE URL from here. © 1997: - 19980308 - 1m20071228 - 2m20140615
Historic Update: 02 June 1998; Last Update: 20 June 2014 01:30:00 TT
Processed by: Jeremy G de Barry
An historic web page for this site; one of the first set by The Living Islands Projects. The page is left mostly in its origional presentation format, apart from an external update to its active eMail link; and internal coding and 'METAS' that update its compatability, list its content and records its dating history. This footer is added for update compatibility.