March 27, 2009
Road work begins throughout SVG

Following much public outcry at the steadily deteriorating condition of the roads in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Ministry of Transport and Works, over the next 3 months, will be carrying out repairs to several roads in various constituencies.{{more}}

At a press conference on Tuesday, March 24th, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Room, Minister of Transport and Works Clayton Burgin gave a report on the ongoing road repairs and outlined those that are due to commence soon.

The project, dubbed the “Rapid Maintenance Project”, intends to repair asphalt and concrete, and major and minor roads, and will continue until June 2009. Burgin said that the project will cost EC$10 million, with EC$6.5 going to road maintenance, EC$2 million to cleaning, with the balance going to future repairs.

The Minister mentioned several factors which contribute to the deterioration of roads, which include the mountainous nature of the island, old roads that were built without a sub-base, the significant increase in vehicles that travel on the roads, poor drainage, and the dumping of building materials and refuse onto roads.

With over 1000 kilometers of roads needing maintenance, Burgin implored the public to be patient while his Ministry deals with the necessary repairs and construction. “We are making sure that we have all the ingredients for road maintenance and repairs…”. He also pointed out the “tremendous works” that the government has undertaken since coming into Office.

In particular, serious attention is being paid to the condition of by-roads. “We need to ensure that all the link roads are properly upgraded,” Burgin stated. Occasionally, storms and hurricanes may cause damage that blocks the passage on main roads; therefore, it is of utmost importance that alternative routes can cope with re-directed traffic.

Road repair projects are currently in progress in parts of Diamonds, Lauders, Chapmans, Calder, Victoria Village, Enhams, Glamorgan, Arnos Vale, Indian Bay, Belair, Murray’s Village, the road from Layou to Barrouallie, and the road from Garden’s Gate to Largo Heights.

Additionally, repairs will soon commence in parts of Green Hill, Lodge Village, Kingstown Park/Level Garden, Twenty Hill, Vermont and Lower Questelles.

In April, repairs are scheduled to begin in North Windward – on the road leading to the old Trotman’s School; North Central Windward – roads in Colonarie, Park Hill and South Rivers; West St. George – road leading to Gomea Primary School; Marriaqua – road near the Adams’ residence in Mt. Pleasant; East St. George – roads through Sion Hill and Cane Garden, and the Southern Grenadines – roads in Ashton and Clifton.

Further repairs will begin in May in Magum, Cuffy Hill to Diamond, Belair, Majorca, Mt. Pleasant, Gurley Hill, Redemption Sharpes, and the road leading to the Edinboro Secondary School.

Burgin emphasized that the roads scheduled to have repairs begin within the next few months are of direct importance to the economic development of the country; therefore, they have been given priority. He also mentioned that from July 1st, 2009, there will be a new authority dealing with road maintenance, repairs and buildings.

Brent Bailey, Chief Engineer in the Ministry of Transport and Works, gave brief insight into the factors that delay the execution of road repairs. They include sourcing appropriate asphalt contractors, purchase of materials (specifically asphalt and bitumen), and attaining the appropriate equipment to effectively complete the project. “Any missing element can hold up a project… We have logistical approaches that we have to put in place to make sure that each sub-project on the maintenance programme is implemented properly.”

Bailey further explained that because the government relies on Trinidad and Barbados for supplies of asphalt and bitumen, there are occasional delays in orders being processed and delivered. (JSV)