INFRASTRUCTURE Minister, Stephenson King, has made a request to his government for an increase in the current budgetary allocations to undertake a robust road reconstruction and rehabilitation programme on the island..
King said the former administration’s 2016/2017 budgetary allocation of $2 million for road rehabilitation and reconstruction had left his ministry grossly under budgeted.
The ministry has already submitted a request to the Ministry of Finance for an additional $1.1 million, utilizing an internal reallocation of budgeted amounts from other resources under the ministry’s programme.
“These interventions are just a miniscule part of the road infrastructure challenges that I inherited on my assumption of office in July of last year,” he said. “The needs of the country are much more significant than what we have been able to address in recent times.”
Several roads have been targeted for upgrade. The Millennium Highway, the West Coast Road particularly from Tet Chimen to Soufriere, the Bisee-Carellie-Chase Gardens link road, and the Castries-Gros Islet Highway are among the more critical roads requiring attention.
According to the Minister, it is necessary to address the deteriorating road conditions, as the quality of the roads is vital to the island’s social and economic development.
The ministry also plans to implement a rigorous road maintenance programme.
King also said efforts are being made to improve the condition of the roads within the short to medium term.
The road rehabilitation programme will involve the resurfacing, and in some instances, the reconstruction of roads throughout the island.
“I am aware that the populace is anxious, some are angry, yet others are tolerant and have understood the circumstances,” said King.
He appealed to the motoring public and the population at large to bear some patience and exercise caution on the roads, as every effort was being made to bring a measure of resolution within the short to medium term ahead of the new financial year.
The Minister said several tertiary roads (roads with low to moderate traffic which link the smaller communities) are also being considered.
“The Micoud road which includes Dugard to La Courville, and the resurfacing of the Blanchard and London roads in the Micoud south constituency is presently being considered. Also, the Marc Crown Lands roads, Forestierre, Fond Khodra, Fond Mangier, and Capital,” he continued.
King added: “Attention to those roads and to the series of isolated potholes in various communities in Saint Lucia will bring significant relief to the users once the resources are made available to the ministry of Infrastructure.”