Disgruntled residents of La Seiva, Maraval who live near the site of a landslide that made the road impassable, expressed their concern over a leaning light pole they feared would take down surrounding lines, disrupting electrical power in the area.
A few residents explained to Newsday during a visit to the site on Thursday that the pole was hit by heavy machinery while the road was being reconstructed.
A length of Upper La Seiva Road collapsed on August 29 during excavation by the Ministry of Works to build a retaining wall. Since then, residents have only been able to reach their homes by crossing a makeshift pathway at the side of the damaged road.
Tensions were high between residents and workers on Thursday, as they demanded the removal of the pole.
Residents who spoke to Newsday requested anonymity.
“If that pole falls and damage anybody, I want everybody to know somebody have to make a jail or get licks. Licks is guaranteed,” said one upset resident, between expletives. He said he has lived in the area his entire life.
The pole "was already leaning and when it got hit,it leaned more, but they don't care. They just want to get their (work) done and get out and leave us to deal with it after.”
Another resident disagreed, saying the contractors were doing a good job and fixing the damaged road as quickly as possible. He was, however, concerned that the pole would fall and disrupt electricity.
“The workers are performing and doing their work. I cannot condemn them. I respect what they are doing,” he said.
He explained the landslide is obstructing passage to residents further inside the area, who he says are neglected.
“They call it the Prairie (Upper La Seiva). Up in there, it is like we are in another world. I might be sounding drastic, but this is the main road in the village.”
He said bad roads have been an ongoing problem, and lack of electricity would only make a bad situation worse.
“If that fall, it will destroy the village in the back there. Nobody could tell me that would not fall. It could fall.”
Project engineer Yuwiyl LeGendre Scott of Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE) unit of the ministry confirmed there was a minor collision with the pole which caused it to lean.
“Some of the residents are a little fearful, but we worked in tandem with the TT Electricity Commission (T&TEC), and we made the call two or three days ago.”
At the time of Newsday's visit, Scott said T&TEC was on its way to deal with the pole. He said during a visit to the site last week, T&TEC officials removed the electrical lines from it and placed them on other nearby poles.
Communications manager at T&TEC Annabelle Brasnell confirmed T&TEC staff went to the site on Thursday to remove the pole.
Scott said although the project was scheduled to take a month, the work is moving ahead smoothly, and the ministry expects to be finished ahead of time.
“Besides the hard-and-fast structure to build the road, we are trying to eliminate the root cause of the problem.”
Scott explained what caused the slippage in the first place, was managing the flow of water from the nearby hills.
“What the ministry opted to do was to redirect the bodies of water that contributed to the failure…creating a drain to catch water coming off the eastern mountain.”
Contractor Anthony John, who has been working on the reconstruction, said he believed the project would be finished as early as next week.