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Roxborough Hanging Bridge brings little road relief

$9m in work crumbling

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Friday, October 6, 2017

The soil erosion at the site is severe residents say.

Roxborough and environs residents are now questioning whether the $9 million ‘Hanging Down’ project in their community is really complete, as the roadway once again seems to be in danger of being undermined.

Secretary of Infrastructure and the Environment Kwesi Des Vignes deemed the project, which comprised construction of gabion baskets and 150 metres of rock armour revetment, complete and under budget by $1.5 million last month. However, topsoil and debris continues to cascade down the side of the site and villagers fear if it is left untouched the roadway may soon cave in.

Located on the windward end of Tobago near the coastline, the roadway is the main thoroughfare that connects the villages of Roxborough, Betsy’s Hope, Delaford, Speyside and Charlotteville to Scarborough.

“The Secretary boasted that the wall was completed under budget but is it really finished?” villager Latoya Anderson asked Tobago Today.

“If you look at it from the top of the road you can see where even the newly-installed fence has begun to buckle and is slowly sliding towards the sea.”

Noting they were concerned for their safety and the wall’s present condition may be overlooked, Anderson said: “The problem is that now they say it’s finished then the chances of them coming back are slim to none and we the residents have to live with it.”

Anderson pointed to a now leaning sign which warns residents to stay away from the fence because they can fall over the precipice as an indication the wall did not serve the purpose for which it was built.

In announcing the completion of the wall last month, the division’s press release noted that the project was undertaken “to prevent the existing roadway from wave attacks and undercutting of the base which led to slope failure.” It also said the project was “a testament to what is possible when expectations and responsibilities are clearly defined and parties aligned are accountable...”

However, another resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity said he was surprised when he heard the wall was complete.

“Even a blind man can see they need to do more work on it. We are glad that they have saved money but how they save and it not complete,” he said.

He questioned who allocated the cost for the wall “in the first place and who said it would cost that. It’s a trick!”

“I bet you that from now on the Assembly will call high figures for stuff and pay less to say their projects are under budget.”

Contacted on the villagers’ concern, the division’s communications specialist Kemba Atkins said the engineers who worked on the project would visit the area.

“They say what the residents are seeing are topsoil and rock and they noted that any cutting of the rock would have further undermined the roadway,” she said.