The road from Belmont and Crick corner in which large potholes appeared shortly after it was rehabilitated was “poorly done”, says Minister of Works Sen. Julian Francis.
“It was poorly done; poorly done,” Francis said of the section of the section of road that Kelectric repaired under the Vigie Highway Rehabilitation Programme.
“I blame the contractor but I also blame the supervising engineering staff of the Ministry of Works,” Francis told a press conference in Kingstown on Monday.
The minister, who is not a trained engineer, described himself as “a bush engineer”.
“The material that was used in that area had no binding material in it,” he said.
He explained, saying that sometimes people say that road construction crews are throwing only dirt on the road, but it is actually stones with clay or dirt that binds the base material together.
“What happened there in Marriaqua, from Belmont to there, they brought some stones from Bequia and if I were the engineer there, I would have rejected it, but nobody bothered with it. There was no compaction.”
He said the second thing is that, as has happened on the South Leeward Highway, the original asphalt should have been dug up before the base material to raise the height of the road was laid.
He said if the old asphalt is not dug up, water would travel on it — under the new layer — and run on it until it finds the weakest part of the road then come back to the surface, resulting in potholes.
“Now, as a bush engineer, they would say that I am talking nonsense. I know, as a bush engineer, I am not talking nonsense,” Francis said.
He told the media that Kelectric has subcontracted another road repair team to repair the Belmont road.
“My solution to that road is that whatever monies we have for the contractor, we withhold it, and that in the areas where all these soft areas are appearing, we did right back down, scarify the road and build it back up and rebuild that area.”
He said that like what was done on the South Leeward highway, temporary patching is taking place.
The minister, however, said he thinks that the situation has gone past the temporary repair stage and needs a permanent solution, which he will discuss with the Chief Engineer and the contractor next week.