Minister of Works, the Hon. Desmond Bannister, visited Abaco on February 8 and 9 to review infrastructural concerns with a view to soon address major roadworks on Elbow Cay and the mainland.
Mr. Bannister said he looked at two very serious situations; the Stink Pond area of S. C. Bootle Hwy and the Dune Road south of Hope Town on Elbow Cay.
“The first one I saw was the Stink Pond, which is part of a highway that was built many, many years ago and I suspect they never contemplated the kinds of loads they would carry on that road,” he said.
“As a result, the culverts under the road have collapsed and we are going to have to rebuild that road and raise it, because it is an ecological disaster on both sides,” he added.
He said that the project would cost in the area of $1.5 million, but “we have to do it and reinforce the road because it keeps sinking and you have a new port in the north so you will have even larger and heavier traffic coming.”
Mr. Bannister said that the Dune Road in Hope Town, “is a nightmare waiting to happen. As I have seen, the road reservation continues to shift inwards towards the creek as the beach continues to erode from storms and strong winds.”
He noted that there are some cavities under it and the Ministry of Works has a plan to remediate it; “it’s going to be a very expensive one – going to cost $3 million – and it will take several months to do that work,” he said.
Mr. Bannister said that most of the design work has been done, and it just needs to be sent out for tender. “The major question is finding the budget for it and the best time to carry out the works.”
He said that both of Abaco’s Members of Parliament carried him around and showed him their concerns.
“We have to do the best we can in the best possible time frame without too much inconvenience,” he said.
He noted that there’s a great need in a number of areas; however, their budget is spread thin as they have to address issues on other islands throughout the country.