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IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: A year on ‘hell road’ still unfixed

ROY R. MORRIS, [email protected]

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: A year on ‘hell road’ still unfixed

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IT MAY BE HARD for some people to believe, but I actually hate when I have to use this space to criticise anyone or anything.

I really do prefer to publish positive things. Because of this internal clash I console myself with the thought that when I do criticise, most of the time something good comes from it.

Today, however, I can report no such outcome and it is really sad. And it is particularly so because I am writing about a problem that does not have to be so. It does not require a complex solution, and while it can’t be done with money, what’s required certainly can’t be outside the scope of our public coffers – even in hard times.

As far as I am concerned, it is really about Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley standing up reading the “Riot Act” to the folks at Rayside Construction, or whoever else is responsible and simply saying “enough is enough”.

On June 4 last year in this column, on this same page, I published an item under the headline Royal Pain. I chronicled my experiences over a period of four Crop Over Festivals travelling to Bushy Park, St Philip for Soca Royale using the road from Melverton in St George to the junction just west of Church Village in St Philip.

I wrote one year ago:

“Four years ago I stumbled upon the massive headache while travelling from the Normal Niles Roundabout on the ABC Highway to Bushy Park for the Soca Royale event.

“I could not imagine then that people who lived in St Philip used that road daily to get to and from the City. The potholes were huge – more like craters in the marl surface – and the dust from the miles of road foundation over which motorists were forced to drive was choking.

“One year later, while returning to Bushy Park for another episode of Soca Royale, I was again struck by the fact that very little progress had been made. Except for a couple hundred metres of the base course of asphalt closer to the St Philip end of the project, nothing much had changed.

“Last year during Crop Over, however, since I did not have reason to travel along that road during the year, I decided deliberately to make it my route to Bushy Park, just so I could check the progress. A lot more road had been paved, but there still was a lot of exposed marl surface. I could not imagine that a simple road project, three years on, could still be in that state.”

Yes, we have strained financial resources, but can someone explain to me why another year has passed and the same half a kilometre or so of road is still a pothole-infested marl surface that creates no end of headache for residents and persons who have to drive through the district.

This is not about a lack of resources. It is about a blatant display of a lack of consideration by the Government for the people who are impacted. My goodness, five-plus years to complete a simple road, and now well over two years in blinding, choking dust for part of the year, and muck-filled potholes the rest of the time for residents of Melverton because of rain?

I honestly cannot imagine what it would be like to worship any hot Sunday morning at the roadside Melverton Christian Mission church; or what it is like to live in that district if you suffer with asthma or sinusitis.

July 26 is the date for this year’s Soca Royale – one month away. Is it possible to complete grading of the road surface, install curbs and pave the road in that time? Very much so, in my view.

Is it probable? Hardly, in my view, given how long it has taken to reach this point.

But then again, maybe someone in authority will agree with me that these people have suffered far beyond their fair share and relief must be swift. We can’t treat everything these days like we live in a banana republic.