BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – WITH the carriageway at Old Road Bay recently sustaining major damage, the Government has indicated that it is going full steam ahead with plans to eliminate threats associated with that location.
For many years administrations, both past and present, were and still are aware of the threat that falling rocks pose to life and limb of people who traverse that carriageway on a daily basis, but no permanent or long term solution was in place to rectify the situation.
However, when asked about the situation at the Prime Minister’s recent press conference, Minister of Public Works, Hon. Ian Liburd who has been championing the cause for some time, declared that plans are moving apace as the government had recently engaged two proposals.
Indicating that he was unaware of the total cost associated with the damage of the roadway when interviewed by SKNVibes, Liburd said that St. Kitts was fortunate to have had a consultant on the ground when the roadway was damaged.
That consultant, according to the Minister, conducted all of the geological aspects of the hill and the wave actions of the Caribbean Sea.
Shortly after the passage of the storm, a section of the road sustain major damage and passenger bus drivers were mulling increasing fares to $6 for commuters travelling to and from Old Road, but the government had completed remedial work in one day.
Addressing the options to fix the rock fall situation, the Minister said: “We have come up with two options; one, to mitigate the risk of the hillside that relates to the slippage of the soil and the fall of the rocks, and, of course, the risk of the seaside.
“If you drive around there you would see the road is below sea level, so the idea for addressing the reclamation on the seaside is to bring the road to a higher level. So, you would have that wave action but it wouldn’t go over onto the road.
“So we are looking at addressing the risk on both sides and benching on the hills on the land side.”
With that said, the Minister disclosed that they have a schedule of work before them, pointing out that they intended to fix that road “once and for all”.
“We, as a responsible people’s government, put safety in the forefront. The safety of people travelling across the road and the safety of traffic - both locals as well as residents and visitors are always exposed. So we intend to address that once and for all.”
He stated that the damage from Hurricane Maria only enhanced the government’s position “that the road has to be fixed once and for all”.
“We have had the preliminary assessment and designs and they are just to be discussed, and reviewed…Cabinet has to first look at the figures.”
The Minister of Public Works is considering sending out tenders ahead of the estimates meeting, which are expected to begin on Monday (Oct. 9).