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Raggedy rural roads

Carlos Atwell

Raggedy rural roads

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PEOPLE LIVING in the many rural areas of Barbados continue to suffer with bad roads.
The unstable nature of areas in St Joseph and St Andrew exacerbates the problem but some residents claim that road works are few and far between.
As such, some of the most horrendous roads are to be found in the countryside; roads so terrible that they threaten vehicles and make driving on them an adventure in itself.
However, even among the horror stories is evidence of the hard work of Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) personnel; all but destroyed bridges restored and impassable roads made passable again.
The WEEKEND NATION travelled to St Joseph yesterday to take a look at some of the worst – and a few of the better – roads there.
Ridge Road is one which is in need of repair and proper lighting. Residents said it was a thoroughfare for tourists and it was a shame that it was allowed to remain in such poor condition.
“When the tourist liners come in, out here is busy, busy. The 4X4 safaris come through here but the road badder than bad,” said Ernesta Clarke-Roach.
She said the road was a vital link to places such as Chalky Mount and Cambridge so should be properly maintained, adding there was also a need for debushing.
Her niece, Joan Clarke, lives nearby. She said the few people in the area often had to spray the grass themselves in order to keep it under a semblance of control.
“The last time the grass was cut was in January. It’s ridiculous; we got real mosquitoes out here. Plus, the last time this road was completely fixed, I was back in school and I am 52 now,” she said.
Clarke speculated the reason why the area seemed to be neglected was due to the small number of residents.
Next up was Parks Road. There, a group of men told the team of the problems in the area. They declined to be identified, however.
“We still got land slippage here but it has been better since the MTW put up gabions and we fellas in the community cleaned it up,” one of the men said.
“The only problem now is when the rains fall; I still think we got burst mains underground because you can sometimes see water in the road at strange times.”
The men said they had also suffered during Tropical Storm Tomas with some houses losing their roofs. However, they said they took care of the matter themselves without governmental help as they were all artisans and took care of each other.
One resident complained of the neglect of the bridge in Melvin’s Hill.
He said so much focus was placed on the Joe’s River bridge when it collapsed but if the one in Melvin’s Hill was allowed to go, then a vital artery would be severed, causing a major inconvenience.
“That is where they should spend some money on. I think some of those engineers need to get in vehicles with the men here and get an idea of what’s really going on,” he said.
Over in Fisherpond, a man who identified himself only as “Ramass” said the road there had been bad for far too long.
He said there was also a need to trim the trees in the area.
“The road bad and want repairing and the trees around that big ignorant corner need cutting because you can’t see,” he said.
“Ramass” said patchwork had been done on the road intermittently but in 12 years, no major comprehensive work had been done in the area.
A woman, who gave her name as “Linnette”, said she had been living in Fisherpond all her life but could not remember the last time the road was properly fixed. In addition, she identified other areas such as Russia Gully and Lammings as in need of repair.
“Those are important roads and they really need attention. It is awful,” she said. (CA)