Infrastructure Minister, Stephenson King, has told reporters that the most recent landslide at the Barre de L’Isle highlights the need for a bypass road.
King made the comments as he held an emergency press briefing at the site of the landslide.
Deputy Chief Engineer in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Len Leon, described the situation as ‘very serious’.
“The complete under-carriageway seems to be undermined and is continuously being eroded so we are very sensitive as to what we intend to do,” Leon said.
Minister King explained that a contractor was on site attempting to provide relief in the shortest possible time.
“That includes the piping of the existing drains Northbound to the left to allow for the water to continue to flow,” he explained.
And King disclosed that the work is being done in a way that will increase the carriageway to allow two-way traffic ‘in the next few hours and for the next few days and maybe weeks.’
In the meantime, the minister indicated that there will be geothermal, engineering and design activities in connection with future interventions.
“What we have seen here today is temporary work,” he told reporters.
King disclosed that the work would allow traffic to move and prevent paralysis of the economy and social life.
“It enforces the dream and the plan for a North East highway and what we call a central bypass, which means a road from the East to the West bypassing the Barre de L’Isle and utilising navigable terrain,” he asserted.
“It also enforces the point for the North East highway link road which would take you from Gros Islet to the East Coast. We are actively engaging in discussions and we are about to sign an agreement to allow for the necessary studies,” he stated.
King told reporters that the East West link road and the North South link road are both intended to bring relief to traffic from the North to the South and the East to the West.
As relief work continued at the Barre de L’Isle, police said the road is still closed to traffic.
Nevertheless, Superintendent Elvis Thomas said some degree of passage is being allowed.
According to Thomas, officers are helping to manage the situation in regard to pedestrians.
“We have persons on either side managing who comes in. Persons can walk up to a certain point – there are shuttles available,” he explained.
“It’s not just a matter of coming through but there are designated areas. Persons are assigned to ensure people walking through are safe and no accident happens,” Thomas told reporters.