The road just outside the Argyle International Airport collapsed Thursday afternoon. (Photo: Drahcir Notla Enworb/Facebook)

The by-pass road constructed two years ago as a detour around a section of the main highway outside the Argyle International Airport, collapsed on Thursday forcing a total closure.

Minister of Transport and Work, Sen. Julian Francis announced the closure of the road on state media Thursday afternoon, sometime before the road failed completely.

“It is unfortunate that, following weeks of torrential rain, we have again developed some challenges on the road going along the Argyle airport,” Francis said.

There was a substantial amount of water runnign on the road by the time it collapsed. (Photo: Drahcir Notla Enworb/Facebook)
There was a substantial amount of water running on the road by the time it collapsed. (Photo: Drahcir Notla Enworb/Facebook)

The collapse of the road resulted from further land slippage in the area triggered by heavy rains associated with a trough system that has been affecting St. Vincent and the Grenadines since Tuesday.

The total collapse of the road comes days shy of the two-year anniversary since the government was praised for building within three days a by-pass around the section of the road that first collapsed late November 2014.

The road was built as a by-pass around a section of the main that collapsed in November 2014. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook) The road was built as a bypass around a section of the main that collapsed in November 2014. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)

Speaking on the National Broadcasting Corporation mid-afternoon Thursday, Francis said there had been soil movement from early Thursday morning.

He told listeners that the Chief Engineer, Brent Baily, and his staff — who visited the area on Thursday — had advised that the road be closed to vehicular traffic.

He said that motorists travelling northwest will take a detour through Calder and Mesopotamia and re-join the Windward Highway at Peruvian Vale.

Vehicles travelling south to Kingstown would turn right a Peruvian Vale, travel through Yambou and Mesopotamia then chose to travel either over to Belmont and down to Calliaqua or through Calder.

We are live from outside the #Argyle International Airport, where a section of the #WindwardHighway is giving way, for the second time in two years.

Posted by iWitness News on Thursday, November 10, 2016

Francis said traffic is not being diverted onto the old Argyle Road because of the heavy showers and floods.

“We are doing some work, which should take us about two weeks down there to get the river crossing perfectly safe in case of substantial rains and flooding.”

He reiterated that all vehicles on the Windward Highway will be diverted through the interior of the country.

Francis said persons who know the Akers Road could use it and make a decision about route when they get to Crick Corner.

“The permanent solution to this is being finalised and I wouldn’t be able to give you a timeframe on that with regards to the closure of that piece of road, but with the Mt Coke entrance, exiting at Peruvian Vale, … within two weeks, we will have a permanent solution at the river crossing. But, just in case we have days like today and as we have been having since Tropical Strom Matthew [in early October], you can have safe crossing down there.

Large cracks opened up in the earth between the road and the airport on Thursday. (IWN photo)
Large cracks opened up in the earth between the road and the airport on Thursday. (IWN photo)

“There is too much water on the road and too much flooding on the river for us to divert you down there,” Francis said.

The transport minister said that persons living at Mt Pleasant as well as persons going to the International Airport Development Company’s offices could use the Mt Coke gap to travel to or from Kingstown.

The inclement weather this week has resulted in flood and landslides across the country, as well as the death of a 12-year-old boy in Bequia, while an 8-year-old resident of Campden Park is missing and presumed dead after being swept away by flood waters, also on Wednesday.

The earth movement deposited a large amount of mud and water onto the apron of the incomplete airport. (IWN photo)
The earth movement deposited a large amount of mud and water onto the apron of the incomplete airport. (IWN photo)

Francis said his ministry is continuing to clean up the landslides across the country.

“I ask persons to be cautious, drive carefully on the by-pass – on the detour, on the Yambou pass and going through Mespo and Calder. They are not as comfortable roads as the Windward Highway and we ask you to drive with caution and be considerate of other road users,” he said.

Forecasters said Thursday eventing that a trough system will continue to generate cloudiness, showers, periods of rain and isolated thunderstorm across Saint Vincent and the Grenadines tonight into tomorrow.

The inclement weather continued to trigger landslides across the country, such as this one in La Croix, Thursday afternoon. (IWN photo)
The inclement weather continued to trigger landslides across the country, such as this one in La Croix, Thursday afternoon. (IWN photo)

The National Emergency Management Organisation warned that soils are already saturated and urged residents in areas prone to flooding and land slippage to continue to exercise caution and be on the alert.

The forecast through 6 a.m. Thursday was “generally cloudy with some moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain and isolated thunderstorms”.

Fire fighters were Thursday afternoon still cleaning up Kingstown after floods on Wednesday, even as more rain was forecast for Thursday night. (IWN photo)
Fire fighters were Thursday afternoon still cleaning up Kingstown after floods on Wednesday, even as more rain was forecast for Thursday night. (IWN photo)

3 replies on “Road near Argyle Airport collapses — again”

  1. Patrick Ferrari says:

    It is all well and good to say, “there are none so blind as those who will not see.” But the problem here, with the failing road, it that they see but play they don’t. If, on the other hand, they are not playing and do not see the problem, for true, which I think it is, then may the Lord help us. The problem is worse than I give them credit for.

    Julian Francis, Minister for the Road, said, “It is unfortunate that, following weeks (weeks?) of torrential rain, we have developed some challenges on the road along the Argyle airport.” Yes, Julian, it is the rain’s fault. Never all yo own. The problem is that road is to Julian what rust is to Rudy.

    If you look for the common factor, Mister man, you might find the problem and lo, you might be able to fix it (I think not but I am coming to a way around that deficiency). You thinking rain is, eh? If rain is, how come the road before and the road after THAT SPOT did not collapse? Before and below got the same rain last collapse and the same rain this collapse but none in the vicinity but THAT SPOT collapsed. So, rule rain out.

    The spot is the common factor, my man.

    How to fix it so next time it rain it doan bruk up? Easy. Do like you do for Jack’s wall. Beg the real engineers at the University of the West Indies and ask them how to build road like how you ask them to build back wall so it don’t collapse and kill people. What is that you say? The road collapse ain’t kill a body yet so no need to run to UWI for help? I thought so.

    Mr Binose, did they ever pay the lady, who has since died, poor soul, for the land that road buill pun? If no, they did not, then the cheapest and quickest fix to this recurring problem, till the nex rain, is to “buy” the house, lick it to hell down and put the new bypass to replace the now dead bypass that replaced the original bypass dey.

  2. Kenton, what good news can be derived from a disaster? Like you said; you reported what you saw. I recognize the area because I was there in June/July during a visit to SVG. I actually stopped and looked at the airport from that vantage point. Folks can’t be celebrating because they are paying and will continue to pay for the White Elephant. They will now have to take a serious look at the tarmac because it’s the second time this earth movement happened – like you reported.
    This airport still has a long way before it’s completed for 747’s and other larger planes to touch down on the runway.

  3. Anyone who might conclude that this is just another example of government incompetence and mismanagement would fail to understand the political need to delay the completion of the airport for two more years, using any and all means necessary, so that its eventual opening coincides with the next election.

    This is all about and only about five-in-a-row.

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