NOT ONLY did the Lady Young Road landslide place renewed emphasis on the need for constant maintenance of our infrastructure, but it also underlined the dangerous bottleneck that continues to strangle our capital and hinder urban development nationally.
For sure, the near-death experience of motorists last week was a reminder of how important it is for State agencies to monitor and repair existing road structures. If something like this can happen on a road that is centrally located and frequently used, what of remote roads crying out for attention which may have escaped the notice of authorities?
The Ministry of Works must review measures in place to prevent landslides and to treat with them once they occur. Further, it must be vigilant in relation to the entire road network.
Complicating the repair work over the weekend were heavy showers which caused flooding. This, too, is a reminder of the domino effect of one failing in the system. Certainly, landslides have a relationship with drainage, which influences the amount of moisture present in soil. That is why the State cannot afford to treat with infrastructure issues in isolation. There must be a comprehensive approach.
It is a shame that on all fronts we seem to keep failing. In this regard, the closure of the Lady Young Road last week resulted in traffic jams in alternative routes and palpably demonstrated the disadvantages of having a concentration of urban development in one district.
Many possible solutions to this issue have been mooted in the past, ranging from a causeway over the sea to decentralisation. Whatever options are elected, they must be properly embedded within a well-devised national infrastructure plan.
Aside from the potential loss of life, the loss of productivity caused by problems in the road network is too high a price to pay, especially at a time when we need to kick-start economic growth. The widespread nature of Sunday’s flooding suggests the solution should not be a matter for individual local authorities but rather national agencies.
It is also disturbing to note the flooding extended to the north terminal and south terminal of Piarco International Airport. This is, to say the least, embarrassing given the importance of the airport.
What is urgently needed is a national plan of redevelopment which addresses bottlenecks, and which preserves the integrity of facilities fundamental to the well-being of our economy and our society.