Government: Redesigning a safer route along Old Road Bay a priority

From the press unit of the Office of the Prime Minister


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The Team Unity government of St. Kitts and Nevis is fast-tracking plans that will once and for all address the hazardous conditions that have for years plagued the island main road along the Old Road Bay.

This follows the devastation that took place at Old Road Bay during the passage of Hurricane Maria this week, resulting in the closure of that road to vehicular and pedestrian traffic Sept. 20-21. 

Minister of Public Infrastructure the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd said the government holds in high regard the safety of its citizens, residents and visitors alike, and as such has prioritized the Old Road Bay road.

“We are actually just about completing our preliminary design stage in terms of the rehabilitation work we will do across the bay and once and for all have a road that is safe,” he said. “Safety is the key because we can’t continue – especially in these times with the sort of weather coming out of climate change – the rock falls, the slippage of the soil and so on. We as an administration are going to take the bold step and really repair this road and have it as a safe road and people will be protected along this road.”

On Sept. 21, Liburd conducted a site visit – with the prime minister, the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, and parliamentary representative for Constituency #4, the Hon. Lindsay Grant –  and commended the tireless efforts of the employees of the Public Works Department in ensuring the road was made accessible in a short period of time. Also on hand was Martell Lee, managing director of ADeB Consultants Limited, the company contracted to design an alternative that will address current and future damages to the Old Road Bay road.

Lee told the government’s press unit that the intention is to design a road that will raise the elevation and effectively address the issue of rising sea levels and the impact of strong waves.

“We are looking at elevating the road and benching because you have issues from both sides,” he said. “You have the sea and the high tides with different environments and then you have the slippages that occur from the mountainside, so you have to mitigate against both issues and the design has to take that into consideration and that’s where we are now.”

The consultants will also take into consideration the impact of natural disasters and longevity in designing the new road. “You will never be able to predict, but what you can do is predetermine what will happen and design against that happening,” he said. “You could do projections based on future time differences in terms of five years, 10 years, 25 years, 50 years or 100-year conditions and these are projections that you can use. We can nullify the threat from the land side and we can make a projection as to what we would mitigate against from the seaside. The prediction from the seaside is far greater in terms of the difficulty, but based on historic values that we have available to us, we can make predictions [that] are fairly accurate and will mitigate against the threat from that side.”

ADeB Consultants Limited was the consulting firm that helped design the roads that were recently resurfaced at the Southeast Peninsular and the new tunnel at Timothy Hill.