New Roads Held Up--Vanterpool; No Blame Game For Flooding

Melissa Edwards, Senior Journalist | August 11, 2017 5:50 am MDT
Photo Credit: Javon Liburd/BVI Platinum News
Nothing could have prevented the flooding that occurred on Monday, and no one should be blamed for the drainage system not being able to withstand the massive flow of water, caused by the tropical wave. This is according to Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister of Communications and Works.

The Minister also said that the roads recently rehabilitated, under the government's major infrastructure programme of over $11M, held up under the severe circumstances.

"The roads that we just built are 95 percent intact, which goes to show the way we designed them and built them, especially with the drainage, have helped us to maintain the good roads," Hon. Vanterpool told BVI Platinum News.

He mentioned some of the roads, including Soldier Hill; over Brandywine Bay hill; Parham Town road leading to Beef Island; and Sea Cows Bay. However, the Minister noted that some roads experienced minor damage.

"...Except on the Hope Hill road where we had undermining of the road in a major way, the road itself is intact...The road for example that we overplayed from the roundabout at Port Purcell to Road Town roundabout, although major flooding happened and the water settled on the road that caused some breakages there," he explained.

Minister Vanterpool explained that the roads such as Joe's Hill, which were badly damaged are old, and noted that Joe's Hill road has not gotten attention in some 20 years.

"Asphalt deals with water not very well so (as long as) water gets under it, it’s a problem...The new roads are holding up, but the older roads have problem," he stated.

Hon. Vanterpool said that he is unaware if any of the government's major projects being severely affected. He however, at the time could not speak to the Brandywine Bay Project.

Defending Drainage System

Touching on the drainage, the Works Minister said that he will not be blaming anyone, because he couldn't see any drainage system withstanding that magnitude of water.

There have been concerns raised that the drainage system is poor and also views that the dumping of garbage indiscriminately, contributed to the massive flooding.

"That (garbage) helped to block some of the bridges in Road Town and caused the overflow, but the extent of the water that was there, I don’t know if anything would have stopped the kind of flooding that we had," Hon. Vanterpool stated.

"This was once in a lifetime water than came down in a very short time. I am not going to go around to blame anyone right now."

In May, the Ministry of Communications and Works and the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) launched a $499,640.00 study to focus on finding the causes and solution to the flooding situation in the Road Town area.

The study, which is being financed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is expected to be completed within 10 months.

"The city of Road Town was damaged, mostly because of the low-lying area...ghuts and couldn’t handle it (water) at the extent that it came, sudden. So the water would not have got out quickly," Minister Vanterpool reemphasized.

"There were some bridges that were blocked with the debris that came down that caused the water to overflow over the ghut bank and flood …And the tide at the time was high…it backs up."

Experts Hired For Assessment

Meanwhile, the Works Minister also announced that experts will be arriving in the Territory to carry out an assessment of the damage to the infrastructure; hence, he could not provide a ballpark figure on how much it will cost the government.

"We have invited some assistance from teams. The DDM (Department of Disaster Management) is bringing in some assessors out of Puerto Rico, who helped us in the 2010 (Tropical Storm Otto) assessment," he said.

Further, the Ministry, through the Premier’s Office, will be inviting some engineer experts from CDB to carry out further assessments for the next two weeks.

"Then we can get a figure we can talk about; some realistic numbers," Minister Vanterpool said.
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