During a ceremony held at the Sprat Net Parking Lot in Old Road on Tuesday (January 29) afternoon, the contract was signed between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the principals of Rock & Dirt Limited to carry out the comprehensive rehabilitation work on the Old Road Bay Road.
In addressing Tuesday’s ceremony, Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards, stated that for years, many persons have feared travelling across the Old Road Bay Road mainly because of the possibility of falling rocks.
“It is certainly not easy driving on any road and wondering at any point in time if a rock is going to fall in front of you immediately. Too many persons have said they are afraid to drive across Old Road Bay especially in the evening…hence this is a project that is important to many of us who traverse these roads on a daily basis,” Minister Richards said.
The stretch of road along the Old Road Bay was deemed impassable after it was significantly eroded and damaged during the passing of category 5 Hurricane Maria from Monday, September 18, and Tuesday, September 19.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd, said the Cabinet was careful in ensuring the design approved for this project would eliminate a repeat of such a situation.
The minister said, “Our experience in 2017 with the disconnecting of this artery of the island main road is one the people of this part of beloved St. Kitts must never have to endure again, because those who live in the area of Old Road, for about two weeks or less, had to commute some 20 miles to go to Basseterre and those coming from Basseterre as well had to do the same, drive 20 miles to get to Old Road…so we decided that this would never happen again.”
The project was designed by ADeB Consultants Limited out of Jamaica. Its Managing Director, Mr. Martell Lee, said the chosen design will in fact eliminate the dangerous threat of fallen rocks from the hillside, as well as mitigate the hazardous effects associated with storm surges from the Caribbean Sea.
“We have ensured that the new road will be elevated approximately 4.8 metres above the existing road and the revetment that protects it will be elevated a further two and a half metres so the road itself will be protected. How will citizens be protected from land slippage and falling rocks that now create the safety issues that we are trying to mitigate against? We will simply move completely away from the existing road; we will elevate the new road above that and any slippage can be accommodated within the space now created on the elevation, which we have implemented in this design,” Mr. Lee explained.
The reconstruction of the 1.2 kilometres of road is estimated to be completed within a 12-month period and is expected to create more than 120 jobs for locals.