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Tuesday 17 September 2019
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Geotech study on North Coast Rd areas due tomorrow

A geotechnical engineering study recommending action to be taken on the hill where landslides have been recurring on the North Coast Road is to be handed in tomorrow, says Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan.

The study will determine the way forward in curbing the problem of landslides in the area, he said.

The geotechnical firm, which he did not name, was required to find a solution to deal with the landslides which have, in recent years, been spilling onto the road and blocking access to the communities and popular tourist spots at Maracas Bay, Las Cuevas and Blanchisseuse.

Last year’s landslide on December 26 cut off the communities for a week, affecting the economic livelihood of vendors and fishermen in the area.

As soon as the recommendations are accepted, Sinanan said, the ministry will advertise for tenders for the project, which will ensure a more permanent solution.

The work will have to be done during the dry season, he said.

The repairs done after the last landslide, he said, were emergency works, and the contractor “cleared most of the loose dirt, but that will not solve the problem, because when it rains, erosion will take place and more dirt will come down again.”

Vendors at the Maracas Lookout, close to where the landslides have been occurring, told Newsday landslides and land slippages have been happening over the past ten years or more.

After a landslide earlier last year, Sinanan said, “We could not do anything because of the persistent rainy season.”

In the interim, he said, “We will maintain the roadway as much as we can until the dry season when we can do a longer term project.”

On complaints about the use of heavy-duty vehicles damaging the road, he said, “You cannot put light equipment or light vehicles to clear that level of work.”

Noting that all the heavy-duty equipment had been withdrawn since the work was completed, he said, “In the event that anything happens again, equipment will have to go back in and clear it. If we get heavy rains, it is more than likely there will be more spills.”

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