Works, Transport and Maintenance Minister, Dr William Duguid, has apologized to residents of Flagstaff Road, St Michael, after they complained about the length of time road works in their area have been taking.
He also blamed the former Democratic Labour Party administration for the lengthy delay saying work was started during their watch but under the wrong head of Government’s expenditure.
“So what we had to do, is we had to go back to Parliament and change the head, which is why we had some delay on it,” the Minister said.
He also took on some of the responsibility for the slow works explaining he wanted natural gas installed in the area and both could not be done at the same time.
“That has meant the further delay and it has compounded the issue in terms of time. But I am happy to say that the natural gas is now in, and the contractor was supposed to restart on Monday [December 3] to do the slipper curb on the other side of the road.”
The works minister said as soon as this is done the contractor indicated works should continue another two weeks.
“So I am asking the residents of Flagstaff and surrounding areas to bear with us. It is going to take time. We are trying to do the best we can,” said Duguid.
Aggrieved residents told Barbados TODAY they felt as though they were living in hell, having to put up with large holes in the road, difficulty accessing their homes, dust, and long lines of slow moving traffic during rush hour.
They said while they were pleased the road was being repaved, it was upsetting the process was taking months when they were initially assured it would only take ten weeks.
When Barbados TODAY visited the area around midday on Tuesday there were no workmen on site, though several residents said they had seen people working in the early part of the morning and suggested they may have left due to the rain.
Resident Reginald Wickham said that while he is mindful residents will benefit from the completed road work, the project did not seem properly thought out.
Another resident Juliette Amos said even though she has kept her windows closed since the road works started dust has gotten everywhere in her house, forcing her to wipe down almost every day.
She said she has been experiencing respiratory issues since the work started and believed her sons, particularly one who has sinusitis, have also been affected.
Before the start of the project, residents were issued with a public notice from Brathwaite’s Construction & Transport Services which read the company had been contracted by the Ministry of Transport and Works under their road rehabilitation and upgrade program to execute road works along Flagstaff main road.
The notice read that substantive work would commence on Tuesday January 23, 2018 and would include the construction of curb and slipper along the carriage way, cleaning of drainage wells, catchments and the mailing and repaving of the existing asphalt road surface. Work each day was to start at 7:30 a.m. and continue until 4:30 p.m. as well as expected to last ten weeks according to the notice.