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Landslide concern: gabion baskets for Tortola road

Gabion baskets. (Google image)

At least one more road on Tortola will be fitted with gabion baskets to address the issue of landslides that have been affecting sections of the island since last year’s major weather events.

Effectively, gabion baskets are cage-like containers filled with rocks and used in road building to control erosion.

The roadway commonly known as Ballast Bay Road – which runs between Carrot Bay and Cane Garden Bay – is one of the areas affected by landslides and has subsequently become a danger and an inconvenience to the motoring public.

Residents in and around Carrot Bay voiced their concerns yesterday at a public meeting on government’s proposed recovery plan for the BVI.

While addressing the concerns, Permanent Secretary in the Works Ministry, Anthony McMaster said government has hired two contractors to rectify the problem.

Special material

He said the contractors are now sourcing a ‘special material’ to start building the gabion baskets along the Ballast Bay Road.

“It is something that we are keen to get moved forward and the contractors are aware of it and they are working to try and get it done as soon as possible,” McMaster said at the meeting held in Carrot Bay.

“We wanted both contractors to mobilize at the same time so that when we close the road, they both go in, do what that need to do and be out. So, they wouldn’t have to inconvenience the community twice in a short period,” McMaster added.

He did not state how much the projects will cost.

Fixing sooner could have worsened problem

The permanent secretary said the landslide problem could have worsened if the government had acted sooner and tried to remove boulders that were dumped on to roads during the landslides.

“When they (landslides) originally occurred, we had the engineers look at them. They basically restricted us from removing them (boulders and deposits) at that point in time because of the way in which the rain had saturated the earth. It could have slid further,” McMaster said.

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6 Comments

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  1. Have seen them says:

    These are installed for miles of hillside road heading to Ponce, Puerto Rico. Seem to work. Also someone has a small part of their land in Kingston or somewhere on that road. It is very well done and doesn’t cost what a retaining wall would cost. Let’s see if this becomes a reality

  2. Albion says:

    This is good (assuming it actually happens). The other thing that they badly need to do is deal with the hill roads which have been badly undercut and are liable to collapse. Hunthum’s Ghut, Johnson’s Ghut, all along the ridge. These things are not going to get any better – they need to come up with a remedial plan and start some works before the entire road falls away.

    • Engineer says:

      Stiff sloping wire nets backfilled with soil and small rocks should do the trick. Once the net is anchored at the base natural vegetation will attach to the soil and stabilize it.

  3. wow says:

    For months the people of Carrot Bay hearing about this and it can’t get done. All the ndp does is give good answers to quit the crowd but with no meaningful results. I am tired of these games.

  4. Carrot bay reisdent says:

    Pure lip service from this inefficient ministry. Had a fatality or serious accident occurred maybe; just maybe they might have acted faster. Gabion are not new nor are they fresh to the BVI – they have been utilized by forward thinking persons and properties for years – so what crap is this now? That section of road needs more than just a retaining structure – it needs adequate and sufficent drainage of the surface run-off and those created by cisterns overflowing etc. MCW along with its associated departments are failures in the wider public’s eyes! Just like the CDB project of a similar nature that has been at a standstill for God knows how long up Eindy Hill Ridge Road this too may suffer the same fate – not a big rush to sort it out.

  5. Visitor says:

    What a BS: “Fixing sooner could have worsened problem”
    Get out!

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