Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid has declared great progress on road repairs and other public works embarked upon shortly after the Barbados Labour Party administration assumed office a year ago.
At a mass meeting to commemorate the first anniversary of the BLP’s unprecedented 30-0 victory in the General Elections, Dr Duguid delivered a detailed report card on three different road works programmes in both urban and rural areas, and minor roads and highways.
Dr Duguid first addressed why his ministry worked on sections of the ABC Highway first when other roads seemed to be in worse shape. He said: “We had a programme with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under which we put together a list of 65 roads, and these were chosen based on the contributions these roads made to our economy, levels of degradation, how many people used it daily, what it would cost us if we left it alone, and when we applied this, we ended up with 15 roads.”
The first five were the section of the ABC Highway from the Norman Niles Roundabout to Hothersal Turning; the University Drive segment of the ABC Highway; and segments of the Charles Duncan O’Neal Highway in the north of the island, Dr Duguid said.
Secondary roads under the IDB’s umbrella included the Belle Road, Highway 6; Lears Road; Carmichael Road; the road from Long Bay to Belair in St. Philip; Hothersal Main Road; sections one and two of the Ermie Bourne Highway, and the road from Searles to Six Roads, he added.
Under the CAF programme, funded by the IDB, Dr Duguid told the audience: “We completed work at Kings Village, Harrismith, Lowthers, and Little Bay, and I am pleased to report that we are almost finished on the Flagstaff Road project, which was fraught with numerous delays, including the laying of natural gas pipes.
“Under phase two of the CAF project, which is now in the design stage, there are 13 roads including Well Gap, Welch Village, St. Catherine; Boarded Hall one and two; the Greenfield Road network in The City of Bridgetown; Shepton Lane; Hampden; Ebenezer, Mount Brevitor and Cane Garden to Bridgefield.
“Apart from these projects, the ministry has also undertaken work on its own volition on Codrington Road, St. David’s; Rockhampton Road; Evelyn Terrace; Mahogany Lane and Sobers Lane.”
He also reported success with a street lighting programme, under which 200 lights were replaced on the ABC Highway and another 3,000 are slated for replacement elsewhere with energy-saving LED bulbs.
Dr Duguid added that the ministry had also embarked on painting road markings at night, suggesting the ministry might pursue other projects overnight.
“Night-time road painting has increased productivity, because our staff has doubled the amount of work they have done, and it has eliminated traffic congestion in the daytime.
“We are now negotiating with the union representing the workers to see whether there are other services MTW offers that can be done in off-peak hours,” he said.
The Christ Church West MP also commended Ministry of Transport’s 13 depots, which he said had been severely hampered in carrying out their duties owing to a lack of vehicles and equipment when he came to office.
“We have purchased lots of equipment including road rollers, trucks, crew cab pickups and backhoes. I am also pleased to say we will be building a new depot for the people of St. John in Bath.”
These depots had patched over 1,000 roads within the past year, with the South Point depot in Christ Church having done 178, said the Minister.
The works ministry has also completed significant drainage works, fixing a problem Duguid said came to light forcefully during the passage of Tropical Storm Kirk last year shortly after his party came to office.
He said: “We are 80 per cent complete in construction of a flood plain at Murphy’s Pasture in Bridgetown, and we have started designing a similar set up at Wotton in Christ Church and hope to put that in place soon.
“We have also cleaned several gullies including The Whim, Richmond Hill dams 1 and 2; Sea View; Mount Brevitor; Batts Rock and the Constitution River, because we know once we put things in place we will mitigate flooding.”