The Government of Dominica through the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) is rehabilitating 43.3 km of road from Bois Diable to Hatton Garden.
The project, which is funded by the World Bank, is being done at a cost of one hundred and thirty-six million dollars and will include slope stabilization, new roads, bridges and improved drainage.
Four continuous sections of roads will be rehabilitated including Lot 1 - Pont Casse from to Bois Diable (4.5 km), Lot 2 from Bois Diable to Castle Bruce (9.5 km); Lot 3 from Castle Bruce to Petite Soufrière (8.8 km) and Lot 4 from Castle Bruce to Hatton Garden (20.5 km).
Minister for the Environment, Rural Modernization and Kalinago Upliftment, and Parliamentary Representative for the Salybia Constituency, Hon. Cozier Frederick gave an update on the project at a site visit held on Thursday, September 17.
Hon. Frederick explained that so far bridges have started and bypasses built to ease the flow of traffic while the project progresses. Land owners have also been compensated.
“This project started in June and we have been able to rehabilitate and take off some of the bridges and created bypasses. We have been able to reinforce some of the curb areas of the road. We have also been able to compensate land owners and crop owners along the road. So in essence what we have been seeing is a progressive work of getting the road network ready for eventual tarmacking,” Hon. Frederick explained.
The Salybia MP went on to say that he is satisfied with the progress of the work so far, and he is happy to see the project come to fruition as it is a very important road network for the east.
“I am pretty satisfied with what has been done so far. But we have had pretty good weather recently, so I will be putting pressure on the contractor to push some more work. Because we can appreciate that this road network affects a number of people in the east. I also want to encourage the road users to be patient because we have to manage the works with a constant flow of traffic. But I am happy that the road works are happening,” Hon. Frederick added.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for the Castle Bruce Constituency, Hon. Octavia Alfred stated that she is pleased with the cooperation and support that the project has received from road users in the area.
“I think that the project is progressing well. I think that we are on target. I am happy that people are cooperating because I was thinking that it might be a stress with the traffic but so far things are going well. People are leaving home a little earlier because they know that they might have to stop as some of the normal bridges have been demolished and they have provided bypasses so we can navigate,” stated Hon. Alfred.
She encouraged road users to be cautious noting that “although we have a lot of signs showing that some of our bridges are down, we still need to be careful.”
Hon. Alfred went on to say that she, along with the residents of the area are extremely happy for the project, as the walls and culverts being built will assist in reducing the vulnerability of the area in times of extreme weather conditions.
“We are happy that more culverts are being placed because we are vulnerable up here when it rains so we are glad that we are seeing more water ways are being put out. We are also very happy to see walls going up as we also get a lot of landslides here. And we are glad to see constituents being employed on the project and we are told that as the project progresses more people with specific skills will be employed,” Hon. Alfred added.
The road works are being undertaken by Sotradom, a company headed by Mr. Jack Gardhankan, and currently 78 locals are employed on the project.