From left to right: Chief of Operations, Barbados, Inter-American Development Bank, Jean Eric Theinhardt; Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance, Dwight Sutherland; Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley; and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources, Santia Bradshaw observe the ground breaking at Carmichael, St. George. (B. Hinds/BGIS)

Government has set a target of repairing 200 village and tenantry roads annually, as it presses ahead with its major roads repair programme in the coming months.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley gave the undertaking during the feature address, at the ground breaking ceremony to commence phase two of the Inter-American Development Bank’s funded Road Works Global Project at Carmichael, St. George, yesterday.

Ms. Mottley also promised to procure equipment for the Ministry of Transport Works and Water Resources to ensure that the island’s depots are equipped to carry out repairs on “small roads” which otherwise would not be the subject of attention.

She added that since coming to office, 60 roads ranging from highways to those in the Scotland District that were impassable to pedestrian and vehicular traffic had been completed since 2018 due to financial constraints.

Ms. Mottley said the Carmichael Road network was one of the “worst in the highway network” and badly in need of repairs for about 30 years.

The Prime Minister explained that due to financial constraints after 2008, a number of major and minor roads were not completed and as a consequence, Barbados fell “eight positions in its infrastructure to 30th place between 2013 and 2017 while at the same time falling 16 places to number 49 in terms of the quality of its roads”.  

She added: “This government upon assuming office, determined that we needed to engage with our transport sector and our road sector as a matter of urgency.”

Ms. Mottley also called for a return of some of the practices previously used such as the planting of cuscus grass and other vegetation to lessen damage to roads as a result of heavy rainfall from climatic events.

“There are a number of practices that need to be resumed in this country if we are to protect the integrity of our roads… At the same time, we need to revisit the standards that we use for decades with respect to what is an appropriate standard for roads and gutters and curbs occurs with respect to a country that is going to face more… floods and hurricanes than we had faced before,” the Prime Minister stated.

She continued: “It may mean, therefore, that the width, depth and gradient of a lot of the things that we took for granted may need to be revisited, with respect to making sure that they are resilient to the new types of climatic problems that we are facing as a nation.”

Ms. Mottley suggested the creation of bicycle lanes on some major roads, and renewed her call for Barbadians to carpool as a gas saving measure.  She also floated the idea of the construction of a parallel highway to ease traffic congestion on the ABC Highway.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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