The Ministry of Communications, Works, Labour andÂ Energy is continuing its efforts to improve road conditions and access to communitiesÂ across Montserrat.
The Ministry is currently conducting road rehabilitation and improvement works in theÂ Barzeyâ€™s community. The work is being undertaken in the northern section of the Barzeyâ€™sÂ road and is a continuation of the extensive work which has already started on the Barzeyâ€™sÂ main road.
The Honouarble Minister of Works, Paul Lewis explained that the work is being undertakenÂ in stages and includes constructing retaining walls in some areas, road widening andÂ bridge installation. The construction of retaining walls is currently being done.
He further stated that the road works are being financed under the Montserrat PriorityÂ Infrastructure Needs Project. Mr. Lewis said, â€œWe negotiated an infrastructure priorityÂ project for roughly $EC20 million, over three (3) years, and this particular piece of work onÂ the Barzeyâ€™s main road is funded from the Infrastructure Priority fund.â€
The Ministryâ€™s Civil Engineer, Rawlson Patterson explained that the work in the Barzeyâ€™sÂ area is considered critical. He said, â€œThere is a lot of land slippage happening in this areaÂ and it is one of the main bypass roads which gives access to the north and especially toÂ our key infrastructures, such as the Hospital, Airport and the Port.â€
As it relates to the construction of the retaining walls which is currently being done, Mr.Â Patterson explained that this aspect of the work was important due to increase rainfall andÂ home developments in that area which have been exaggerating the land movements.
Therefore, he said, â€œIt is important that we construct retaining walls here and apart fromÂ that it helps with the widening of the road as it allows for safe access for pedestrians andÂ motorists.â€
The project in Barzeyâ€™s will also include bridge installation works which have been delayed.Â Once work on the bridge begins, the aim will be to â€œincrease the capacity and size of theÂ bridge for the flow of water and also taking into consideration debris flow, falling treesÂ further upstream and maintenanceâ€, explained Mr. Patterson.
The Public Works Department (PWD) and contractors are undertaking the works in theÂ Barzeyâ€™s area. Two Contractors are currently working on the retaining wall and otherÂ contractors will be engaged for the road and drainage works.
Apart from the road works in Barzeyâ€™s, the Ministry is also undertaking works in the JudyÂ Piece community. Excavation works is currently taking place on a portion of road in JudyÂ Piece, as part of a wider project which began in the area to provide proper drainage andÂ road access. Minister Lewis said once the budget is passed, the portion of road beingÂ excavated will be completed and will conclude the road works in the Judy PieceÂ community.
Mr. Patterson noted that the intent is for communities to have roads that are resilient toÂ storms and other events. He said in the past it was quite difficult to get out of this areaÂ (Judy Piece). The Civil Engineer explained that project entails drainage work andÂ constructing concrete roads that will link back to the main road.
The road works are part of the Ministryâ€™s thrust to provide safe road access across theÂ island.
Mr. Lewis and Mr. Patterson provided updates on these road projects during a site visit toÂ the areas today (Wednesday, February 7).