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Less asphalt, more concrete roads coming

Barbados is moving away from using asphalt and shifting to the construction of concrete roads.

Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources Santia Bradshaw disclosed on Tuesday night during the St James Parish Speaks public forum at the Frederick Smith Secondary School that this is the direction the country will be going, following a visit to Texas last year when she and her team looked at a new technology known as roller-compacted concrete (RCC).

Bradshaw disclosed that Cabinet recently approved the ministry’s proposal to start the first two roads next Monday, although she did not name the areas where the project will begin.

“We are hopeful that we can start the first two RCC roads on October 2. But the paperwork is being done in terms of signing off on the contracts in another week and getting everything in place,” she advised.

The Deputy Prime Minister noted that a number of concrete roads that were built in the 1960s have held up today without any maintenance.

“It [RCC] really is a new technology of what we understand to be concrete roads. It is faster in terms of its application, it is more durable in terms of how long it lasts as well compared to the asphalt roads, and the ministry determined that this is the methodology that we ought to use going forward,” she said.

“We have started the process of identifying some of the roads that take a lot of heavy traffic as well as some of the roads in the residential communities, to be able to apply the roller-compacted concrete.”

While two have so far been identified, Bradshaw told her audience the intention is to do more.

“As you can appreciate, we will require coordination, just as with asphalt roads, with the utilities to make sure that we are able to change out mains . . . in those areas while we are doing the rehabilitation of those roads as well,” she said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the St James Parish Speaks that the Ministry of Transport, Works and Water Resources is setting up a Drone Unit to allow the Government to do more effective monitoring with respect to community concerns and complaints.

Mottley was responding to issues raised by a St James resident who highlighted problems with drainage, street lighting, and wells in need of cleaning and repairs.

“Once that [Done Unit] is done, it will help as well…. I am going to ask Public Works to just have a dedicated email or WhatsApp that people can send [reports] to you to make your life a little easier,” she said.

Pointing out that there are more than 6 000 wells across the island, the prime minister appealed to residents to submit information to the ministry if they know of wells in their area in need of cleaning or repairing.

“We are dealing with them systematically, but we first need to know where the wells are,” she said.

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