BVI News

Excavators destroying roads; tougher laws ahead

This excavator was photographed on the dual-carriageway in Road Town recently.

Tougher laws are to be implemented to deter persons operating vehicles with continuous tracks from driving on public roads.

According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works Anthony McMaster, these vehicles are wrecking the territory’s roads and costing taxpayers.

By law, vehicles that run on continuous tracks are to be transported on trailers when moving from one location to another.

However, McMaster said persons operating these vehicles have realized that it is cheaper to break the territory’s traffic laws than to transport these vehicles the legal way.

“Currently the legislation that we have are quite outdated. For example, one of the current legislation prohibits track vehicles like excavators, bulldozers, etcetera from driving on the public road.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, Anthony McMaster.

“The fines for driving on such currently is about $50. If you have to pay a lowboy trailer, which is the vehicle that transports these sort of equipment, it probably cost you between $200 and $400. So, as an owner, if you consider the fine versus doing what’s right, people tend to overlook the law and say ‘OK, if I’m caught I could pay the $50 fine’,” McMaster explained.

He said roads that were recently repaired are already being impacted by these heavy equipment vehicles.

The ministry is now looking to have the laws amended to put an end to the issue.

“The Ministry of Communication and Works will be putting forward recommendations to the Cabinet for approval to go forward to the House of Assembly to modernise those legislations with the inclusion of heavier fees,” McMaster said.

He further said the ministry will consult with the public to determine how much to increase the fees.

“We don’t want to sit in our offices and say ‘OK, we are going to charge you $500 or $5,000’. We prefer to have a discussion with the public and make sure the public understands the effects of these sort of equipment on the infrastructure because, at the end of the day, every one of us as taxpayers is paying for the reconstruction of those roads. So, if we can get everybody doing the right thing and utilizing the public infrastructures properly, it will reduce the cost to all of us in the long run,” McMaster reasoned.

The permanent secretary went on to describe the problem as a longstanding one.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Disaster Recovery Coordination Committee, Brodrick Penn said roughly 19 miles of roads are to be rebuilt across the territory.

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  1. Lol says:

    But it is the government owned bulldozers doing the mess ????

  2. Devon says:

    Blah Blah… another law that won’t be enforced !
    And surprise surprise another part of legislation not up to par… these Ministers need to get down to doing a lot of legislating on this Island !

  3. Common sense says:

    Same thing happen here in Anegada.

    Breaking up the road.

  4. Real people says:

    When the government build road that a trailer can carry a excavator to the job they can talk

  5. The real Boo says:

    Jokey Government at it again

  6. Yawn says:

    This man is pure hot air.

  7. More. says:

    Not the only causing the damage. A 9 yard concrete mixer causes equivalent damage to about 1,700 cars and pick-up trucks. Roads were never engineered for these kinds of loads

  8. E. Leonard says:

    The BVI has a small road network with basically one major road classification. As such, the roads have to carry all types light, medium and heavy construction and automotive equipment loads. The roads probably are not designed to carry heavy equipment, resulting in heavy equipment use, ie, trucks,backhoe,front loaders, garbage trucks …….etc contributing to premature road failure. As an example, studies have indicated that 1 pass of a heavy garbage truck equivates to approx 1000 vehicles passes.

    Particularly, track excavator using the roads damages them and contributes to premature road failure. As noted, lowboy(flat beds) should be used to transport track excavators, bull dozers……..etc. Clearly, if the fine is more economical than following the law, more than likely abusers will violate the law. The rule needs to be strictly enforce to prevent damage to the roads, as well as reduce the costs to taxpayers. Perhaps the consequence for repeated violations should be more than just a fine. Further, wheel excavators is option for many types of equipment work, ie, Gradall……etc. Another issue that needs addressing is road cuts.

    Road cuts inconvenience motorists, weakens and shortens the life of the road, increasing maintenance and replacement costs. As such, actions should be taken to reduce cutting into a road. Government should coordinate all major road repair projects with utilities (water, power, sewage) and telecommunications companies so that any needed work can occur simultaneously. This coordination should reduce cuts into roads.

    Further when roads are cut the repairs should be repaired in timely manner and consistent with PWD standards; PWD can perform the repairs and bill the companies or the companies can perform the repairs themselves. Moreover, in some locales, a road recovery fee is charge for cutting into the street.

    Moreover, 19 miles of roads are being planned for reconstruction. Thus, the roads should be designed with a minimum cross section to safely carry the heaviest equipment that will used them. It will cost more up front. However, road failure would be retarded, reduce operational and replacement cost, extend road life, reduce maintenance cost………etc. Initial cost will be higher but the lifecycle cost will be lower.

    • Socrates says:

      “PWD can perform the repairs and bill the companies or the companies can perform the repairs themselves.” If PWD cannot keep up with pot hole maintenance and repair, how will it be able to perform full depth road repairs? It cannot. To do what you are suggesting,PWD would need to be 1)reorganized and restructured, 2) staffing ramped up and trained, 3) equipment inventory increased, 4)more effective planning 5)more effective directing, and 5)establishing standards, setting expectations and providing outcomes. Is this a tough row to hoe for PWD? How is PWD performance rated, ie, poor, fair, good, or excellent? Should PWD conduct a self analysis to see where its performance lie?

  9. Sam the man says:

    I believe Anthony McMaster makes a good point and yes the fines must be meaningful otherwise its just a slap on the wrist…However as with anything its the implementation that is critical and the BVI Governments record here is poor unfortunately and needs to improve …not to the extent of way over the top “arrest you for a beer on a beach in florida” like in the US but measured and reasonable….

  10. Well says:

    The most disturbing thing during this hurricane is when there was an alleged freeze out by machine owners to work the machines.

    Government need to build back public works like how it was in the 70′ 80’s when it had its own machinery.

    Too much money have been wasted on big contracts for works the Public works could nave done themselves.

    That is why these private machine owners have no respect for the roads because they feel their machines is who will have to repair them.

    Any repairs done to this country to fix back infrastructure after the hurricanes is futile MR Governor if the public works department is not built back up to scratch. They need Backhoes, Hi macs and trucks.

    Also they need to be heavy fines destroying roads and hampering Road safety is a very serious crime. Machine owners should face crime and operators should face custodian sentences.

  11. Moses 963 says:

    What a load of s*&^. As a heavy equipment operator and owner I can say that there is several differences in the equipment driving in the roads and if there just driving in a straight line or actually operating
    While on the road. A lot of machines including the 1 in the above pic has what is referred to as STREET pads on the tracks which don’t hardly even leave a mark on the road unless the machine is actually sitting and digging while on the road. Now a 43000 pound D6 with 2 inch toes on it will destroy a road. And as mentioned above we cause no more damage then an overloaded truck does to the roads

  12. . says:

    We want a raise from 800$ per day

  13. Anonymous says:

    Take a good look at that excavaror it has rubber tracks on it most contractors have a head on their shoulders and no better to run the machine down the road I agree if they run a steel track machine down the road they need to be charged and a good stiff penalty that’s the only way you’re going to get through to these guys

  14. C.f. exc. says:

    When was the last time you saw a bulldozer, or excavator driving from job to job?? Never!!! I’m not going to drive something that goes 10 miles an hour down the road. My employees would love all the extra hours though! A lowboy is cheaper my friends.

  15. Anonymous says:

    A bunch of hog wash where the he’ll can you drive a excavator too on the roads to get to a job to save money by the time you get to the job you would most likely burn more in fuel than you would pay to get it freighter by the time it would take to get there and back it would not be cost afective or time afective i wonder what is the real reason for this increase in fine

  16. Craziness says:

    They talk about equipment messing up the roads , these roads ARE NOT BUILT PROPERLY to begin with, 1. The foundation of all the roads have to be prepared the correct way first and that’s never happened on tortola yet ,despite all what u see happened before the repave the roads IT IS STILL NOT CORRECT , I’m a Tolian and working abroad and seen what it took to have a road that lasts longer than every paved or newly paved roads on tola ,2. Tortola P.W.D nor any of the contractors have any of the contractors have the knowledge to nor the machines. 3.government want to put stiffer fines on such but what about Government reimbursing ppl for their vehicles when w.s.d and p.w.d dig them up!!

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