EDITORIAL: Urgent fix needed for roads
IN recent weeks, there have been increasing complaints about the poor state of our nation’s roads. With the heavy rains being experienced as a result of the Hurricane Season, there has been a great deal of rainfall inundating the island and this has resulted in roads, which were already in need of repair, becoming worse.
As a result, repeated calls – reminiscent of calls made between last November and early this year – are being made via the call-in programmes, letters to the editor and social media, for the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) to do something to address the state of our roads as a matter of urgency.
Now the upkeep of our road network has always been a major issue for Barbados; we suppose that it is worse now given the country’s challenges. While the financial and economic challenges facing Barbados may very well be preventing Government from carrying out widespread work on the roads, this situation cannot be ignored, as if allowed to continue, the situation can become even more difficult to remedy going forward. If left to get worse, those roads can pose a danger to motorists and pedestrians alike.
From St. Lucy to Christ Church, there are numerous roads desperately in need of repair; among them are scores of roads heavily traversed on a daily basis. While we commend the Ministry for seeking to address some of our road woes, we do not feel that the priority roads are being addressed fast enough. Government has secured funding from the Development Bank of Latin America to undertake these roadworks and among the areas to be fixed in the first phase are Flagstaff, St. Michael; Lowthers, Christ Church; and Padmore Village, St. Philip. Now while it is clear that these roads need fixing, others like the Salters Main Road stretch to the Norman A. Niles Roundabout perhaps need it even more. Driving on this major artery leading from St. George, Christ Church and St. Philip to the ABC Highway, is like manoeuvring an obstacle course – where there are not only massive potholes, but the top layer of the road has been lifted up in many areas. Such is the case for many of our roads and this certainly does not make for a smooth ride and can wreak havoc on a vehicle. Also, with the heavy rains, the water settles on the road and makes it difficult to know where the potholes are. This poses a danger to vehicles and also the occupants of those vehicles, who can be injured if the vehicles plummet into them.
Other roads like this include Market Hill, St. George; Highway 7; and Todds, St. John. The latter is among the worse in this country. It was in a poor state for many years, but since the recent rain it has become worse, which in itself is unimaginable. Also of concern is Newbury, St. George; there are several large potholes along this stretch and one was so big, that a vehicle dropping into it recently broke off its wheel. The sad reality is that there are many more roads across the island where the potholes can cause similar damage or even worse. Can you imagine dropping into a pothole like that at night, in a deserted area? Then not only is your car damaged, but your life may very well be in danger from some unscrupulous person who passes by.
What we do not understand is why it takes so long for these holes to be filled; this needs to be looked at seriously. We feel strongly that there should be a dedicated unit within the Ministry, if there is not already one, charged with not only identifying where the damaged roads are, but ensuring that they are repaired in a timely and efficient manner.