$15-m flood damage to St Mary roads, says mayor

KARYL WALKER, Observer staff reporter

Saturday, January 01, 2005    

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WHILE the National Works Agency (NWA) was unable to estimate the cost of damage to roads by heavy rains which caused flooding in some sections of the island on Thursday, Mayor of Port Maria Bobby Montaque estimated damage to roads and water supplies in St Mary at $17 million.

"The damage done to the parish council network is estimated at $15 million, while $2 million worth of damage was done to the water supply," Montaque told the Observer.

The mayor said 49 springs, pipelines and catchment tanks in St Mary were damaged by the flood rains.

At the same time, he said, the surface has broken in two on many of the roads in the parish.

"Barker Road is completely cut off. the entire road has collapsed into a gully," Montaque said. "We also have horrible damage in Highgate, Mosquito Hole and Hibiscus Avenue. Some homes are in danger".

He said there was also extensive road damage in Port Maria, Annotto Bay, Orange River Road, White Spring Road, Baccuswood Road, Luna, Land Settlement, Warick Castle, Enfield, Love Lane, Wallingford Road, Derry Road, Crawle Road, Flatfield, Preston Hill, Horse Fording, Marley, Hazard, Bellefield Lane and Gully Road.

However, Vando Palmer, NWA's manager for communication, said he could not put a price tag on the damage caused by the flood rains islandwide.

"It is too early. We are still doing damage assessment," he said. But he said an estimated figure will be ready by next weekend.

In the meantime, Jamaica Labour Party councillor for the Castleton Division Don Creary blasted the NWA for what he described as 'slap dash' repairs to roads in St Mary.

"Everytime the rain falls the same areas are damaged over and over," Creary said. Creary called for urgent attention to be given to the Junction Road, Relief Road, Scotts Hall and Camberwell areas where land slippages occurred.

"These areas are desperately in need of attention," he said.

Meanwhile, the NWA said the Bog Walk Gorge, which was closed on Thursday because of the flood waters from the overflowing Rio Cobre, was reopened yesterday.

At the same time, the NWA closed the alternative route through the Barry district, in order to effect emergency repairs to the Bailey Bridge along the Barry main road.

Yesterday, the NWA said single lane traffic was able to pass through the Tulloch to Zion Hill road in St Catherine; Mount Airy to Coakley, Mount Airy to Golden Spring, Oberlin to Border, and Lawrence Tavern to Glengoffe main roads in St Andrew and the Wakefield to Hardwar Gap, Buff Bay to Balcarres and Balcarres to Wakefield roads in Portland.




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