The Ministry of Transport, Works and Water Resources (MTWW) will soon commence a series of multimillion-dollar road infrastructure resilience projects.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources, Santia Bradshaw, made the disclosure on Wednesday, June 8, during the opening ceremony of the 10th IRF Caribbean Regional Congress at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
“The Government of Barbados has secured a USD$215 million financial package for this road infrastructure resilience campaign, which includes projects funded by the Latin American Development Bank (CAF), USD$50 million; China EXIM BANK (COMPLANT), USD$115 million; and the Inter-American Development Bank, USD$50 million,” Minister Bradshaw said.
The MTWW Minister explained that under the projects, road rehabilitation would be executed; significant improvement would be made to drainage, bridges and culverts, and improved connectivity of road infrastructure across the island’s major rural and urban arterial roads should be achieved.
“More importantly, it (the road infrastructure resilience campaign) will provide the government with digital transport planning and asset management systems to support the allocation of resources to priority investments. These projects will also be providing Barbados with road maintenance methodologies that improve on an outdated and decentralised highway maintenance management system. This is in pursuit of better overall infrastructure coverage, improved financial and technical efficiency and technical quality control to provide best fit and value for money,” she explained.
Minister Bradshaw also addressed the challenge of climate change, noting that natural hazards had the potential to reverse years of development.
With the increasingly intense weather systems, she acknowledged the island’s financial capacity against “the need for a fit-for-purpose” climate adaptation infrastructural programme remains unbalanced. However, the Acting Prime Minister stressed that the cost of doing nothing could lead to a larger fiscal burden since climate resilience really is a mandatory requirement for small Caribbean islands.
“These [climatic] events devastate our economies and our lives with increasing magnitude and dislocation every year…. It would be imprudent for us not to consider how these events impact the way we conceptualise, design and build, in order to unlock, protect and fully utilise the resources we have in order to achieve infrastructural integrity,” Ms. Bradshaw said.