The road was damaged by a large landslide in September 2013. (Photo: CWSA)

Water supply to 11 communities has been disrupted and vehicular and pedestrian traffic rerouted after a huge landslide on Monday damaged water mains and the main road in Belmont.

The Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA) has announced that will take three to four days to restore the water supply to Belmont, Ginger Village, La Croix, Calder, Calder Ridge, Victoria Village, Glamorgan, Mc Carthy, Fair Hall, Belvederre, and Harmony Hall.

The company further said it will truck water into the areas and several temporary tanks have set up during the three or four days it would take to restore the water supply.

And, the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) has urged the harvesting or rainwater, even as it noted that that rainfall could further destabilise the area where the landslide occurred.

“I m going to begin first by reminding persons that this is the hurricane season,” Howie Prince, director of NEMO said at a joint press conference with other state agencies on Tuesday.

“What he had (Monday) night was the result of, so to speak, a small portion of a tropical wave that is moving around the region — not moving a lot but producing heavy rainfall, particularly in the mountainous areas of St. Vincent,” he said.

He urged citizens to continue to monitor the weather and to ensure that their plans for the adverse effects of and the fallout from bad weather are in place.

Chief Engineer, Brent Bailey, said that while the slippage “is pretty small — it is only about 50 or so feet [wide]”, and his office had not as yet the full information, it is estimated to be more than 150 feet high.

“Now, the repair is going to take some time. This is not something that is not going to happen overnight, simply because of the extent of the slippage,” he said.

This CWSA photo shows the scale of the earth movement.
This CWSA photo shows the scale of the earth movement.

He noted that the relevant state agencies had already mobilised resources to upgrade alternative roads, which could cause some EC$75,000.

“So we are going to have to look at a methodology to safely protect the lower embankment of that road and as well see what works we have to do to get the road back to its initial stage. More than likely, it will require realignment of that section of road,” he said, adding that total repair could take as many as eight months.

“I will ask that the public do not use that road,” Bailey further said noting the possible danger.

“I know there are lots of sightseers that would want to see what has happened. I wish to caution you because the area is not safe,” he further stated.

“The rate at which the embankment is deteriorating, and the rate at which it fell [Monday] night, if that is to be used as an indication, it could collapse at any point and as such we do not want the public to put themselves at risk,” he said.

We do not want any loss of life, given that we already know what is happening,” Bailey further emphasised.

Meanwhile, Garth Saunders, general manager of CWSA, said that 160 feet of 6-inch water main has to be replaced and that this will also require some reconstruction, a process that would take three to four days.

He said that the CWSA is trucking water into the area and has set up six storage tanks in the area and will decide, with time, if more tanks are needed.

“That is likely to be the situation in the next three or four days. We will like to bring it in before then, but, again, it depends on the stability of the area that we are working in,” Sunders said, noting the possible that the situation could worsen.

Alternative route:

The Ministry of Transport, Works, Urban Development and Local Government would like to inform the general public that the section of the Vigie Highway at Ginger Village Junction between Belmont look-out and George Williams’ shop would be closed to vehicular traffic until further notice.

DIVERSION: Motorists travelling into Kingstown are asked to use the Fair Hall main road from George Williams’ shop and exit on the Windward Highway at Calliaqua.

Motorists travelling to Mesopotamia should turn right onto Whim road then left onto the Fair hall main road.

DRIVERS OF HEAVY TRUCKS AND HEAVY EQUIPMENT SHOULD USE THE FAIRHALL MAIN ROAD. THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE THE WHIM BY PASS ROAD.

Motorists are requested to exercise caution, adhere to the 20 mph speed limit and pay attention to the various road signs.

(This story was updated at 08:35 ECT to give a clearer indication of the traffic diversion)

5 replies on “Landslide disrupts water supply to 11 communities, triggers re-routing of traffic”

  1. These people do not know what the heck they are talking about.. the chief engineer and the director of NEMO. Why dont they get someone to speak who has training in hazard and hazard management. They should know that the belmont and its environs are tectonically unstable.. take a drive through.. the evidence is quite visible. I the last five or so years there has been a number of major earth movements in that area.

  2. Adrian I agree with you ….Mr Prince also needs to learn to speak to people….after waiting over twelve hours to respond to the disaster he turns up and starts barking orders to the residents…these so called engineers know so much ….the road was moving prior to any rain falling and I keep hearing them talk about rain causing the damage…that road has been moving for quite a while and escalated because of heavy vehicles which were involved in construction on the road…but them is the technical experts so they know

  3. Wouldn’t say is due to tectonic activity, thats more related to earthquakes and is independent of rainfall. The tectonic shelf the islands sit in doesn’t move that sudden, if it did there would be broken water mains island wide.

    The issue is the inadequate bearing capacity of the existing roadway / soil compounded by the lack of proper drainage to release hydrostatic pressure after rain events. Having shown signs of settlement / movement for some time with no action to address falls inline with the shameless actions we’ve come to accept from this genius government.

    With more cars on the roads, and newer cars getting heavier each year, many of the nations roads require extensive evaluation for capacity and safety.

    Lets do something more productive than talk about reparations. Can’t have a airport bringing more goods and people that the roads can’t handle.

    Our Government of Greats and Geniuses, your move.

    1. Mike.David, when I read this article, my comment happened to be the first (but I hadn’t seen it turn up in the comments section – don’t know why). My concern is basically the same as yours to some extent. I do not think Whim road can take all that traffic for an extended period, bearing in mind I am not an engineer and as you say the Government is full of GREATS and GENIUSES.

  4. It would help to start if they all had speech training so as they can be understood by all.

    This could of been something as simple as the removal of trees, tree roots ancre the soil and can go a long way in stopping land slip.

    I notice to the left of the slip shown on the first photo, tree stumps covered in ivy or vines. they have obviously been cut down at some time in the past.

    Of course that would probably go beyond the comprehension of the NEMO or government engineers.

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