Minister for Communications and Culture, Hon. Mark Vanterpool announced that Government will not continue to invest in asphalt roads, instead, in order to maintain the roads for longer periods it has been decided that the roads will now be constructed using concrete.
Minister Vanterpool reported the new approach during the NDP radio program on 1 October. “We have some major road works to be done. We are going to be switching from doing roads especially on the flat areas, on the coastline areas, switching from using asphalt to a major road programme of using concrete.”
At least two of the roads located in the Sixth District have been identified for the new concrete road projects. According to Hon. Vanterpool these roads were selected based on their high use by heavy duty vehicles. “We are planning do to that from concrete…Have them properly paved. It’s an area that heavy traffic passes, especially with trailers off the dock that have a lot of pounds in them. So, we have to do it properly so that it doesn’t break up and suffer damage,” the Minister added.
The manner in which government currently constructs roads was repeatedly criticized by Opposition Member and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser. The most recent criticism was made by Hon. Fraser while he was speaking in the House of Assembly back in July. At that time Hon. Julian Fraser complained about the state of many of the Territory’s roads and announced that the current road construction method of using mainly asphalt is unsuitable.
“I have people in my District, they have roads there – they have holes deep enough to bury a child and these are roads that they need to get to their places. A simple road in Hannah’s area, that the same government dug up to bury water lines and all the rest of it — time and time, every time you fix it they dig it up; we can’t get fixed because they don’t have asphalt,” Hon. Fraser said.
Hon Fraser added, “On the main road, you drive the road going down Sea Cows Bay, when you get to the Anglican Church and then it’s like a trampoline. We can do better. With all the money we have accessed since the hurricane no one is asking you to modernize the highways, as yet… It’s got to be temporary because there is no way in the world that that could be the permanent fix, because we knew why the roads were destroyed. The roads were destroyed because they got flooded.
Earlier in the year during a public meeting held in his District on 21 February Hon. Fraser once again chided the manner in which road works are carried out in the Territory and complained that despite how much is spent the roads do not remain intact for long.
The Opposition Member told the gathering, “The roads were never designed properly and they were never built properly. They are non-functional, dry weather roads. Even in the dry weather you get potholes.”
Prior to that meeting, Hon. Fraser told the House of Assembly during a December sitting that the manner in which the road works are being done is tantamount to money being flushed down the toilet.
The Opposition Member told the House: “when we talk about rehabilitation of roads are we going to rebuild the roads the way they are or were? That’s throwing money down the drain literally. That’s what we did the last time. The money went down the drain Madame Speaker…If we go and take money and build the roads as they are right now or as they were before the storm you’re literally throwing money down the drain. We need to see a plan as to what the reconstruction is going to look like and we need to approve that plan.”