Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 03, 2020 (SKNIS): Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Infrastructure et al, the Honourable Shawn Richards, said that the Old Road Bay Road Rehabilitation Project proves to be a wise investment which is already paying off.
During the prime minister’s monthly press conference on Tuesday, December 01, 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Richards updated the general public on the project, noting that it is substantially completed to the extent where motorists were able to use the road when the old one proved difficult to traverse.
“Persons are already seeing the benefits of this new road. Be it that the current road has been blocked due to traffic accidents, rocks falling from the hillside or we have had an accumulation of water in terms of heavy rains, the road was opened on all of those occasions so that persons traversing back and forth were able to do so without being hindered,” said Deputy Prime Minister Richards. “Hence, as I said, we are seeing the benefit of the road and so the money which the government has invested in that road, those are monies which have been well-spent.”
Deputy Prime Minister Richards said that several issues hampered the progress of the project. The lockdown periods in March and April, as well as quarrying for suitably-sized rocks were highlighted.
“The contractor undertaking that particular work has had some issues with the ten-ton rocks from the Quarry. You would recognize that on the seaside rocks are being used to prevent the seawater from eroding the coastline for the new road. The design is such that there are rocks required of several different sizes,” the minister said. “When they were mining for the 20-ton rocks they were able to find those easily, however, the process requires blasting at the Quarry to get the rocks of the needed sizes. There is no exact science to doing so so that when you blast, you get rocks of different sizes, different tonnage.”
Deputy Prime Minister Richards said another issue is the absence of the consultants attached to the project due to COVID-19. He noted that because they reside overseas, they are unable to provide technical expertise that is needed regularly. On a more positive note, the minister reiterated that the project continues, and “as the rocks are mined, they are being transported to the site.”
The project will result in a new 1.2 kilometre stretch of road being built. The design has a number of safety features to mitigate against falling rocks from the hillside and damage from the sea, which have both been known to occur especially during inclement weather. The new road will be extended on the reclaimed land and be approximately 24 feet apart from the existing road. It will also be elevated some 15 feet above the current road and have guard rails on both sides. The seaside protection will include strong rock armouring featuring large 10 and 20-ton boulders. The rock design is similar to the protection at Port Zante – the main port for cruise ships in St. Kitts.