Sunday, April 3, 2011


Since the heavy rains in October from Tropical Storm Otto, the roads around Tortola have been in serious need of repair. The force of the water rushing downhill, and flooding the low-lying areas tore up asphalt, carved enormous potholes and caused road shoulders to slough off the sides of the mountains in landslides.Although BVI Public Works cleaned up the landslides, cordoned off missing shoulders and filled the smaller potholes, much of the repair work was beyond the scope of their capabilities, and remained undone.

In the middle of February, though, the BVI government signed a multi-million dollar contract with a local construction company to complete all the repairs necessitated by the October rains. Work commenced almost immediately after signing, as the rough road at the top of Huntum's Ghut was completely removed, and then the concrete poured to create a lovely, smooth driving surface. The large potholes nearby were also filled with concrete to help prevent redevelopment of the same holes.

It was terribly exciting to us, who had driven over the bumpy, dusty, rubble-filled road for six months, to see the work progress. Even the inconvenience of our regular path to work being reduced to one lane was insignificant compared to the anticipation of having a real road once again. Three weeks later, with the Huntum's Ghut project complete, we wondered what would be next.

So far, nothing. The guardrail is still hanging precariously off the roadbed on Great Mountain Road. Joe's Hill Road has a surface that is half-asphalt, half-concrete, with six inches of height separating the two. Similar conditions apply for the roads to Cane Garden Bay. It took six months to truly begin the roadwork created by Otto. Maybe in another six months, it will finally be complete -- just in time for hurricane season.

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