Gran Couva residents protest over failing road

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pepper Village residents protested on Monday, calling on authorities to rebuild the collapsed Gran Couva Main Road after a WASA water main destroyed the road about two years ago. – Roger Jacob

Gran Couva residents protested early on Monday over the deplorable state of the main road.

A journey between La Vega village and Couva once cost $15, but now, resident Janelle Joseph, 38, says taxis charge $30 because of the crumbling main road, which includes landslips.

Similarly, a trip between La Vega village and Preysal costs $15, up from $10.

Joseph told Newsday she has to pay these inflated fares daily to get her two children to school, as the maxi, which once ran in the area no longer does so because of the state of the road.

This is on top of additional costs to make deliveries for her business, as customers are not willing to venture along the road to get to her.

“Nobody comes up by me because of the road,” she said.

Ramdhanie Bajnath, 49, of Pepper Village, said he lost his house about two years ago because of a landslip.

Since the road’s dilapidation escalated two years ago, residents say they have been using Cameron Road as a bypass.

It is a longer route, and the residents said trucks above the three-tonne weight limit frequently use it, and it is now crumbling.

Bajnath told Newsday the conditions could also prevent the fire service from reaching some residents who live further along the road should an emergency arise.

Fed up of inaction by the authorities, he said, residents took to the streets from 2 am to call for something to be done. He said they are also planning to protest on Tuesday morning.

Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes, in a release on Monday, said she had made several requests and representations on behalf of her constituents about the state of roads in the Tabaquite area.

“Upon taking office, I launched the #FixOurRoadsTabaquite Campaign. One of the first infrastructure tours I embarked on with the MOWT (Ministry of Works and Transport) and Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) was a review of major landslips located in Gran Couva. That was in 2020,” she said.

“While some restoration work was attempted, severe weather in November 2022 wreaked further damage to roads throughout the community, worsening existing landslips and resulting in newly formed land movements.

“My office was informed that a geotechnical survey was being conducted to inform the required repairs. To date, there has been no update and multiple areas along the Gran Couva Main Road remain extremely dangerous for vehicular traffic with portions entirely closed.”

She said serious road restoration is needed in Brasso Venado, Los Atajos, Caratal, Corosal, Guaracara, Parforce, Tortuga, Mamoral and San Fabien.

“It is particularly difficult for these residents to look on at significant construction works throughout TT while no update has been provided as to when any repair works can be expected in their communities,” she said.