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”.
Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.