Front Page
November 28, 2014
Cracked up strip of Windward Highway worsens

The bypass road, which was constructed to circumvent the portion of the Windward Highway which began cracking and subsiding last Friday, was completed on Wednesday and is now open to vehicular traffic.

The section of the Windward Highway between Calder gap and Peruvian Vale had to be {{more}}closed last Sunday evening, after it was observed that a portion of road, several metres long, was sinking.

With the closure of that part of the Windward Highway, vehicular traffic had to be diverted through Yambou, Calder and Mesopotamia.

In a nationwide address last Sunday, Julian Francis, Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Works said the bypass road would be ready by Thursday (yesterday). It is now open, one day ahead of schedule; but in the meantime, subsidence of the portion of road it was constructed to bypass has worsened.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the area that is sinking, used to be a gulley.

“We had a lot of rains. I understand the area which subsided used to be a gulley. They are filling with material and so on and so forth. It’s not the first time that a road has subsided in St Vincent and the Grenadines and it would not be the last time,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister advised that the road in question had been constructed to accommodate the construction of the Argyle international airport and replaced an older road. He indicated that the previous road ran parallel with the sea and would have had to be replaced “sooner rather than later.”

“The road was — and a number of young people may not remember this — was towards the sea water, towards the bayside and you may recall that during high waves, water would come up on the road. That road, we would have had to move it sooner rather than later, even though you weren’t building the airport,” he said.

He said the site for the new road was selected by professionals and it was constructed with the best technical advice locally, regionally and internationally by the CO Williams firm of Barbados.

“As you know you had to cut away a big bank and you had to build a new bridge across a river as part of the bypass.”

He also outlined what will be done to remedy the sinking road.

“I’m told by the chief engineer that on the right side of the road going up facing country that we will have to do a wall to hold up that side of the road and that they will have to dig it up…, repack it with the relevant material and then pave it again. And make sure all the drainage systems in it, both underground and surface are in order,” he said.

Gonsalves, who is also the Minister of Transport and Works, pointed out that the wall is expected to take at least three months to design and build and stated that actual work on the road will be done during this time.

The Prime Minister stated that he has requested work to be done at night so that “the public can see we are making the concerted effort to get this done very quickly.”(BK)