By Admin. Updated 5:30 a.m., Friday, September 9, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
On Thursday (September 8), the government opened a newly rehabilitated road called the Long Line Road in the mountainous North Leeward area.
The road is about 3.6 kilometers long and costs some 3.3 million US dollars.
Work on the road started in 2019, and its design and construction were funded by the World Bank under the Regional Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project – RDVRP. It was co-funded by the European Union.
The road, which members of the community say was used long ago by the Garifuna people in the area, connects the communities of Westwood with Belmont which connects Rosehall and Troumaca.
Roads are constructed all the time, but the Long Line Road is not an ordinary road.
According to the parliamentary representative for North Leeward – Mr. Carlos James, the road is important because it serves two main purposes – evacuation and agriculture.
In the aftermath of the 2013 floods, many incidents of land slippage occurred in North Leeward which made roads impassable and cut off communities from each other. One of the affected areas of road was in the Coulls Hill area.
Any immediate assistance needed in some areas could not be provided due to the landslides, and there were no alternative routes to get to some communities.
According to area representative – Carlos James, after 2013 floods, a decision was taken to ensure “Ease of access in the cases of evacuation and emergency when it comes to the North Leeward area based on the terrain of the constituency.”
Mr. James said the Long Line Road, which was unfinished at the time of the La Soufrière eruptions of 2021, and the newly constructed wharf at Chateaubelair were instrumental in facilitating the evacuation of persons from North Leeward communities.
“The Long Line road – even though it was incomplete at the time, sufficient work was done where we were able to evacuate persons on this road by land,” Mr. James said.
The road can also lead directly to the volcano observatory in Rose Hall.
The newly rehabilitated road which has now been made fully useable to motor vehicular traffic, enables access to fertile farm lands, Mr. James said.
He said farmers can access new “virgin” lands and existing farmers in the area can ramp up production, and they can have a comfortable ease of access coming out.
The road connects other feeder roads in the area.
The road also provides a scenic drive through relatively through the inner, less traversed part of North Leeward, with a view of the Cumberland Valley.
Influences on the overall road network development
Meanwhile, resident engineer who worked on the project – Mr. Brent Bailey called on the prime minister to explore creating L’Anse Mahaut road to cut down the travel time to and from North Leeward.
A motor-able L’Anse Mahaut road will run from Keartons, Barrouallie in Central Leeward into Spring Village area in North Leeward, and it will eliminate the 7-kilometer winding route up to Belle Isle into Gordon Yard and Spring Village to about 1.2 kilometers, Mr. Bailey said.
Mr. Bailey, who has served as Chief Engineer in the Ministry of Transport and Works said that the establishment of such a road will cost the government somewhere in the region of 8 million dollars.
He said it will make a significant change in the lives of those who have to travel everyday, to which the audience at the event gave him a round of applause.