An extremely difficult undertaking to improve drainage at Trents, St James is nearing completion and will result in much-needed ease for motorists, businesses, and residents.
During a site visit, Project Manager in the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification Ricardo Marshall revealed that the workmen on the $4.7 million project would also be hoping to restore smooth operations along the entire affected stretch by month-end.
The project has forced motorists to take inconvenient diversions, the impact of which worsened with the reopening of schools on Monday.
According to Marshall, the team from Infra Inc. was faced with numerous challenges including heavy rainfall, groundwater, and seawater, which hindered progress.
“We are working in very difficult conditions and we have to keep the workers’ safety in minds and we can only work with material if it is dry and allows us to do what we have to do,” he revealed while chiding some motorists for blatantly disregarding diversion directives.
“It has been difficult and we have had to ask for the assistance of police on a number of occasions, but we will continue to try with it and we believe once we’ve gotten this section of road open, we will have fewer issues of this nature occurring. In general, the motorists and the residents and businesspersons have been very accommodating to all of the workers.”
Meanwhile, residents are relieved at the progress.
“The work seems to have been done pretty quickly and the road seems to have been repaired, so hopefully we wouldn’t see as many problems in the area,” said 18-year-old Brandon Cox of Trents.
He also admitted the work would go a long way in improving challenges linked to the drainage.
Meanwhile, Richard Archer, Manager of the soon to be opened Horny Ram bar is pleased the work will be completed in time for its opening on Saturday.
“We have had problems with minibuses and members of the public using our car park as a thoroughfare, which has been a little bit of an annoyance…but we understand people need to get where they are going,” he acknowledged.
“We understand that the drainage situation on the West Coast is poor and this is all for the greater good and we are hoping now that this is being done, more general road works can be carried out and we actually get some road resurfacing.”
While sections of the West Coast near sunset crest have also been reopened, the team faced similar challenges while conducting repairs outside the complex housing the Holetown Magistrate’s Court and Police Station.
Marshall reported the team was doing “quite well” and is hoping to have culverts installed this week. However, he admits the road still may remain closed and asked affected people to appreciate the ultimate objective of the works.
“What we’re trying to do is to alleviate the flooding and improve the drainage structures in what are already very settled residential and commercial areas,” said Marshall.
“The reality is that the effects of climate change are making it even more challenging for us. We are essentially getting the same amount of rainfall per year, but it is within a much more compressed period. So you’re getting longer droughts and more intense rainfall events and those contribute doubly to the chances of flooding.”
While the West Coast road along Trents, St James will reopen; the project manager said workers would still carefully direct motorists as they complete minor changes.
“We will ask motorists to follow the direction of the flag persons who will be on-site as work is going on because work will be happening on both sides of the road. So to keep workers safe and convey material, we will have flag persons directing at certain points.