Augustine: Permanent solution to Bad Rock landslides required

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development workers on site at Bad Rock, Belle Garden. – DIQUD

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine believes a long-term solution to the landslip problem at Bad Rock, Belle Garden is needed. However, he said this would result in the closure of the road for a longer period.

Landslides have plagued the area for the past weeks, causing the road to be blocked and traffic disrupted. Another landslide on Sunday caused the temporary closure of the road.

A press release from the Division of Infrastructure Quarries and Urban Development (DIQUD) on Sunday said, “Consequent to a land slippage and critical failure of a retaining wall on the seaward side of the roadway, the DIQUD is advising motorists that the Windward Road will be reduced to one-way traffic heading west from Kendal to Belle Garden from November 7. This arrangement is necessary to restore basic functionality to this essential roadway, and is expected to be completed within short order.”

The division added that drivers attempting to access this area are asked to utilise alternative routes. Drivers heading East are

asked to utilise the route from the 7th Day Church of God or Zion Hill Road, unto Job Street, unto Longbed Road, Belle

Garden. Larger vehicles heading East will be permitted access through Bad Rock.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Augustine said: “Some weeks ago we had to close of this road due to landslides and to do the geo-technical surveys. The truth is, at some point we will have to close the road for a longer period to arrive at a permanent solution.”

Augustine lamented that the alternative routes will cause traffic congestion.

“The challenge will be Job Street and the fact that whenever we reroute traffic through that street it is a traffic nightmare.

“All in all, we need to expect some inconvenience to have this road fixed. Another reason why we need to simultaneously fix our alternative roads.’

Deputy Chief Secretary and electoral representative for Belle Garden, Dr Faith BYisrael said the landslides have disrupted the lives of residents in the area. “It is an inconvenience, because that is the way we normally travel, but we have to ensure life, limb and property is secured.

“You recognise, that area we’ve had landslips for quite sometime. This seems to be the more serious we have seen it in a couple years so we do have to look at a longer-term solution.”

She said engineers are assessing the situation and the best way forward.

“We do have an alternative route. It is somewhat of a hassle for those unfamiliar with the district.”

She said the route is one-way traffic now with only those heading west allowed to pass.

Asked about sourcing funding for a long-term solution, BYisrael echoed statements from Augustine who has critcised the island’s budgetary allocation.”Yeah, when you look at all the infrastructure work needed for the island, the funding we get is not enough to do half of what is required.” She said the THA will continue to explore its options.