Frustrated Broadgate residents say collapsed roadway a 'sinkhole'

Frustrated Broadgate residents say collapsed roadway a 'sinkhole'

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, October 01, 2020

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SEVERAL residents of Broadgate in St Mary are frustrated with authorities after a section of the newly renovated Junction main road collapsed Monday night, inhibiting several people from going to work the following day and negatively impacting shop owners .

Residents, who spoke with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, complained that contractors, past and present, have ignored years of continued land slippage at that location due to the natural features of the embankment which sits parallel to the Wag Water River.

Stephen Shaw, manager of communications and customer service at the National Works Agency (NWA), told the Observer on Tuesday that the agency was aware of the technical challenges posed by the geology of the area, and that plans were already underway to put a bridge at the location.

“We have a technical solution for the problem that has existed there for a little while. That technical solution has been a bridge in the form of a design that has been costed, and we are looking to get approval from the Government to proceed with the works,” Shaw said.

However, residents told the Observer that a lasting solution to the problem has been long in coming.

“From mi born I know that spot always sinking and it a sink before mi born. The people tell them and them nuh want listen to the people. And that nuh right because a long time it stay so. Them just do what them waan do,” said 71-year-old Norman Wellesley. “We need a bridge at that spot because no matter how you build pon it, it still sink,” the elderly man continued.

Patrick Beckford, a teacher and resident of Broadgate, explained that previous attempts at dumping up the embankment and installing gabion baskets did not solve the problem of the land slippage.

“That road has always been a problem. It has been sinking for many years, which is why we call out there sink grung [ground]. And over the years, several contractors before this roadwork got contracts to fill it up with gabion basket, and it still sliding.

“It seemed as if it was okay because since this roadwork started it has not been sinking [until Monday's collapse]. More or less they thought it was okay and they went ahead and packed some large boulders, fill it up and paved the road, and this is the result,” said Beckford.

Another resident, who gave her name as Lorna, said that the area where is the embankment collapsed is known by residents to be a sinkhole.

“My father always used to tell me growing up that the river head meet up right there, so it sinks all the time. The contractors who put the road there know about it because the people in the area tell them,” the woman said, adding that residents have been recommending that a bridge is the only solution.

“We always telling them that it want a bridge and instead of put the bridge them dump it up.

“Is a spot that break away all the while, especially when you have heavy rain. And then the hill where them cut the road, that piece is breaking off too.

“No matter how much them dump it, it still going to sink. So we need a bridge because it is going to continue breaking away until we don't have any road.

“Persons yesterday couldn't get to go to work because no bus was running,” said the woman.

Barbara Brown, a shop owner, explained that the collapse of the road completely stalled her business Tuesday.

“I don't sell anything yesterday [Tuesday] because the vehicles couldn't get to pass. I went to Annotto Bay in the night to buy goods when it sink, and coming back the car tyre almost go over where the road break off,” said Brown.

Herman Latouche, 80, who also spoke with the Observer, said: “I get so frighten to cross it [Tuesday] because I know the earth move there sometimes. Some men have to help me cross it when I was passing. Years now that place been giving trouble [and] all them try fix it the water underneath cut away the road,” Latouche said.

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