PR- Minister for Infrastructure Development and Implementation Hon. Gregory Bowen met this week with his technical staff to discuss the implementation of sustainable road rehabilitation and development over the optimal economic planning horizon.
The staff present included the Chief Technical Officer, engineers, road officers, and the Chairman of the Physical Development Authority.
Minister Bowen stressed the point that no matter how small the sub-project or the width of the road being rehabilitated, the works must be designed with all possible future use of the road taken into consideration.
“The maximum available width of roadway must be established even if only part of this will be paved for immediate use; the dimensions and load capacity of the replacement bridge should not necessarily be the same as the one being replaced,” Minister Bowen said.
Calling for the new set of considerations to be immediately adopted, Minister Bowen said, “Designing for development will require that we ask several questions. Can the road be used as a bypass? While the funding may not be available now, will the road require expansion or relocation in 10, 20 or 40 years? These time frames are not long by developmental standards and once set, will determine the design life and cost of the road infrastructure.”
The challenges from the road slippage at Moliniere and the inability to construct a third lane on the Grand Anse Road are costly reminders of not planning nor designing for future development, the meeting heard. The meeting put forward that lands to the edge of all roadways must be owned by Government or should be only for roadway use. Starting immediately, a protocol must be put in place to engage owners of lands close to the roadway. Further, Government should not continue selling lands it owns in the vicinity of roadways.
The meeting agreed to put into effect the collaboration already established between the Physical Development Authority and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development whereby road officials will report all infractions to the Authority. These infractions include building steps and driveways over drains, erecting walls and other structures in the road reserve space. The authority will now be expected to move with alacrity to remove the infractions as provided for under the Physical Development Authority Act of 2017.