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House: Palmetto Road repairs complete ‘in months’

Repair work on Palmetto Road should be completed in a matter of months, according to Public Works Minister Craig Cannonier.

Responding to complaints about the lack of progress by area MP Michael Weeks, Mr Cannonier said work to gunite the cliff has begun, and that it should be around three months before the road and wall is fully fixed.

“It's embarrassing that this has taken so long to be rectified,” Mr Cannonier said. “I recognise that we need to get moving on a fix. I believe it's important to North Hamilton, and it's important to the people that travel on the road.”

Palmetto Road was reduced to a single lane more than two years ago after heavy rain caused the cliff face to collapse into a neighbouring property. The Ministry of Public Works said at that time the repair work was complicated by a dispute with the landowner.

A year later, a second collapse due to heavy flooding caused further challenges. Last May, Public Works Minister Patricia Gordon Pamplin said work would begin by September and be completed by the end of the year.

This month, Government closed the section of the road between Bishop Spencer Road and Marsh Folly Road entirely after a further collapse of material. Speaking during the motion to address in the House of Assembly, Mr Weeks expressed the frustration of the area residents, saying the issue should have long since been resolved.

He said that seniors and students in the area have particularly been impacted due to the lack of public transportation, while motorists have complained about congestion during rush hour periods.

He suggested that the road could be reopened as a one-way road, allowing traffic into town between 7am and 9am and out of town between 4pm and 6pm to ease congestion and allow area residents to catch the bus more easily.

“This has been going on for three years,” Mr Weeks said. “This is a main artery in the back of town. We need it fixed.

“You keep talking about looking for jobs and what not. Some times the opportunity for jobs is right in front of us.”

Mr Cannonier agreed that the repairs had taken too long, saying the decision to close the road entirely was made in the interest of public safety. He told the House that he visited the area the morning after the latest collapse after being contacted by Mr Weeks. He said he was alarmed by the number of large vehicles passing over the damaged road, noting seven or eight buses passing through in less than an hour.

“I took a look at the sediment and watched as the buses drove over it,” he said. “I could see that bank in small amounts just slide away.”

Mr Cannonier said he would go back to the area for another look, but added that he would not move on reopening the road until he is sure it is safe to do so.

Craig Cannonier

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Published March 10, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated March 10, 2015 at 3:31 am)

House: Palmetto Road repairs complete ‘in months’

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