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Gov’t reinstates public road after dispute with Belmont landowner

The government has recreated a public road so residents can have ease of access between Belmont Estate and Long Bay, West End.

Government has finally reinstated the public road connecting Belmont Estate to Long Bay in West End, which was destroyed during Hurricane Irma nearly a year ago.

Government reinstated the public road within 24 hours of a Belmont Estate landowner closing the private road on his property, which was being used as a substitute access route for residents.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Jeremy Hodge said the Public Works Department was able to reinstate the road by dumping stones and soil in the degraded area.

He described the now reinstated road as a ‘temporary bypass’.

“It’s just so in case of any emergencies like fire or ambulance — there must be an easier route for emergency vehicles to access,” he told BVI News.

Hodge said the road now needs to undergo development works such as paving, creating a drainage system, and erecting some sort of revetment to protect the new road from the sea.

He, however, said the Works Ministry needs approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour do undergo the development processes.

He said their approval is a legal requirement.

“Being that it’s on a coast, we have to get their permission to even put in the bypass road and we still have to go through a process for them to give us the green light to basically formalise to make a permanent road,” the deputy permanent secretary explained.

Hodge does not know the duration of approval process but said the ministry does not anticipate being denied the requisite approval.

The deputy permanent secretary told BVI News the government no longer requires access to the private road, which landowner Lemuel Smith had opened to the public immediately after the 2017 hurricanes.

He closed the private road on Saturday as a result of a dispute between him and government.

When asked whether government has completely concluded discussions with the private landowner, Hodge said: “It’s not for me to say that at this juncture”.

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3 Comments

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  1. blind man says:

    This road needed a roller and sheet-piles on the outside

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    • Phoenix says:

      They all do- right through Carrot Bay. The sea has claimed a new shoreline. If we want to rebuild back, ‘the way it was’, we have to admit we’re building dykes and do some serious engineering.

      We’d save a LOT of money re routing roads where possible like revitalizing the road that travels from the Capoon’s Bay school and outlets just before the Sugar Mill Hotel. Also building a new road through the swamp at the western end of Carrot Bay, routing it down to the cross road by the church would create much space for new homes and businesses; turning the current waterfront into a pedestrian only space would create an new tourist attraction.

      The new reality is that we’re going to be hemmoraging money into fighting the ocean for the rest of our lives- it only makes sense to mitigate it and move thoroughfares in any place we can.

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  2. Mango says:

    You might want to stop referring to roads as “permanent” in BVI. There’s no such thing. “permanent” roads in BVI include the following:
    1. Cracked concrete roads with a layer of asphalt laid over it that peels off in the rain.
    2. Stretches of loose hardcore and general crap that get a covering of asphalt varying in thickness from 2 inches to 3 feet.
    3. Half cut half fill concrete roads on hillsides that crack where the cut ends and the fill stops.
    4. Urban roads which for some crazy reason need to have kerbs twice as high as they need to be so you break your leg stepping off and on the road. For another weird reason the kerbs are painted an unnecessary baby puke yellow. There’s no need for it to be this way but that’s how it is.
    All the above are actually temporary.

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