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PM gets first-hand look at Belmont landslide

PM gets first-hand look at Belmont landslide

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Government officials are still weighing options for the construction of a new Belmont main road, but whichever option is chosen, they estimate that between EC$10 and $15 million will be needed to get the job done.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said last Thursday, that after he was briefed by chief engineer Brent Bailey on the damage done by the September 2 landslide, and what may be necessary for rehabilitation of the area, he began formulating a plan to acquire the funds.

During a tour of the affected area, Gonsalves said that the primary concern, however, is to secure the more than EC$700,000 needed to do repairs on the alternate routes that would be used in the interim, to move commuters to and from the Marriaqua Valley.

“That is the first immediate problem, to have the people moving on an ongoing basis,” the Prime Minister said, after visiting the area, fresh from a trip to St Lucia for a meeting of the East Caribbean Monetary Council.

“I got an indication as to what the sum was, and before I left, I have identified where I was getting it from. I gave particular instructions, so now all I’m really waiting for now to open the tap, so to speak, is to get the precise numbers from Brent, so we will have the necessary records as to how the expenditure is going.”

Speaking to the media, Bailey said that four possibilities are being considered for the new road, which he indicated could take upwards of eight months to construct.

Bailey said that apart from the road construction, soil testing, land acquisition, contract tendering and designs would have to be taken into consideration.

“The first option is to take us through from the corner, and to connect back to the Fair Hall main road. The challenge there is that you have to go through a mountain that is 150 feet high.

“You can do that in two ways: one, a tunnel, or you could cut the embankments, and again it’s a hundred and fifty feet high embankment, so there will be significant earthworks to be done.

“Option two is to cut the bank and shift the entire road inwards. If we do that, we would also have to stabilize this embankment; we would have to put in check walls to protect this while we do the new road alignment.”

This option, he said has two different variations.

The engineer said that the preferred solution would be to go for the latter, because of the time in which it would be completed, as well as the cost.

Meanwhile, communications officer of CWSA Joan Ryan told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that pipe-borne water has been restored to the villages that were affected by the landslide.

Ryan said that the water was restored on Saturday.

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