Outsource the patching of potholes to the private sector or provide the civil servants with the proper equipment to get the job done effectively.
This advice from businessman Ralph Bizzy Williams, whose brother Sir Charles Williams is involved in the asphalt business through his C O Williams Construction Ltd civil engineering company.
Sir Charles could not be reached as he is currently travelling in South America.
Making it clear he was not criticizing Ministry of Transport & Works (MTW) employees, Williams said over the years potholes were not being patched properly because the workers were “sent out there to patch potholes with a shovel and a supply of the hot mix, asphalt.
“It is impossible to shovel some asphalt or whatever into a pothole with no proper compaction and expect it to hold. So the next rain it is going to pop out and the hole is going to be back there again,” Williams said.
The C O Williams crew, on the other hand, ensured the job was done properly, without leaving bumps because they were better equipped, he said.
“They dump material into the pothole, leave a bump into the road for the vehicles to roll it in because they are not equipped properly with the equipment to do a proper repair job. So you end up with bumps all over the road to repair the potholes and then what happens is the vehicles that are passing over these bumps end up with broken shock absorbers, broken springs, damaged suspensions and the cost in foreign exchange to the country to replace those things is tremendous.
“So it would probably pay for the Government to put out the repairs of the potholes to private sector and get it properly done or equip the men that are working in the Government properly and maintain the equipment,” Williams said.
Government has come in for scathing criticism in recent times over the state of the island’s roads, with a number of residents, including Minister of International Business Donville Inniss, reporting that the potholes were costing them thousands of dollars in repairs to their vehicles.
A million dollar patchwork programme was rolled out earlier this month, with both MTW and private contractors undertaking the repairs.
Among the critics of the road condition was the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA), whose president Sharmane Roland-Bowen had complained about the quality of the material used in the repairs and the temporary nature of the work.
Roland-Bowen, who recently returned from an overseas trip, told Barbados TODAY she would examine the current patchwork programme to determine if it was being done satisfactorily.
“This is not only about fixing the roads but it is also about maintenance. If our roads were maintained they would not be in the state they are today. The rains would have come and some of the damage would have been done but it would not have been extensive as it was,” she explained.
A recent proposal by the Aron and Christina Truss Foundation for the private sector to repair about seven kilometres of road along Highway 1 from Spring Garden to Holetown was welcomed by Roland-Bowen, who promised that BRSA stood ready to lend support.
However, she suggested the estimated $3.6 million projected be done mostly at night when there was less traffic, and the completed work should cater to pedestrians, including the disabled.
“We know it is also a tourist [belt]. We need to cater to every person, local and visitors as well . . . don’t forget the pedestrians and the vulnerable persons. Also the markings, we hope that they will put in the relevant road markings and signs, pedestrian markings and so on,” Roland-Bowen advised.