IF POTHOLES SAVE LIVES then St Lucy has to be one of the safest places in Barbados to drive, or walk.
In fact, it would also mean that the stretch of road from the four-cross junction at Swampy Town, north of the Spring Hall Land Lease Project, east to St Swithin and past the old poultry processing plant at Bright Hall must be the safest on the island. Per metre it has more potholes that any other road in the country.
In fact, for a paved road there are more exposed stones from the foundation than on any other road I have encountered in this country since I entered this profession in 1979.
I am so sure of that and I challenge anyone living anywhere in Barbados where there is a paved road in worse condition to send me a photo. I will publicly apologise if I am wrong. But please don’t include the tracks and cart roads that so many Barbadians still use to reach their homes, a quarter century after the Urban and Rural Development Commissions were formed specifically to eliminate such backward conditions.
I can recall during my early years as the Nation’s rural reporter, traversing this road regularly with now retired ace photojournalist Charles Grant as we went in search of stories. But alas, it is quite clear that three years short of four decades later it has never benefited from the presence of a “barber greene” machine.
Scan the code with your phone to view the state of the roads.
However, when you reach the area of the old St Swithin’s Primary you enter Hope Road, which was paved a few years ago – but you could never tell from its state. Apparently this road was subject to some excavation for the laying of new water mains, largely just off the shoulder, but the project has left the surface in such a state that it has become a playground for vehicle tyres and rain water. Some potholes virtually cover the entire width of the road.
What’s worse is that for some stretches of more than 100 metres, where the main was installed at the side of the road, over the last year passing traffic has broken the asphalt edge bit by bit, leaving a constantly reducing road surface.
But if you think Hope Road is bad, divert to the west of McDonald Stephenson’s dairy farm on to Hope Bridge Road. You would have to fall asleep under the influence of some medication to get into an accident on this road.
That’s because you can only drive at a few kilometres per hour – literally a few. And the bumping and shaking that your vehicle will be subjected to from the potholes and generally rough surface would wake even the dead.
I don’t relish the idea of challenging my old friend from school days at Coleridge Parry Denis Kellman MP, but I am sure his constituents in St Lucy and the hundreds of tourists who use these roads daily to access attractions like the Animal Flower Cave, River Bay, Little Bay, Cove Bay and then on to Boscobel, Morgan Lewis and Cherry Tree Hill don’t wish to choose between road safety and decent road surfaces. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive, not even where it is just a “transitory inconvenience”.