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A holey mess

Potholes and poor patchwork line many roads of New Providence and in some cases the situation has worsened in recent weeks.

Driving along some main thoroughfares requires significant caution from those who want to protect their vehicles from serious damage.

Especially during the rainy summer season, it is not uncommon for a driver to fall into a worryingly deep hole that was not there the day before. A normal daily commute could overnight transform into a crater-filled minefield.

To make matters worse, as one Facebook user pointed out, even when some of those potholes are patched, the work is uneven.

“The patch jobs are as much of an issue as the potholes as they are never level,” wrote the Facebook user.

For some business owners, potholes are affecting the bottom line.

Pedro Josey, owner of The Village Drug and Beauty Supply on Alexandra Boulevard in Nassau Village, said he is disgusted with the lack of attention to the issue.

The road outside Josey’s business is lined with deep potholes, leaving drivers with hardly any space to turn into the parking lot without falling into one of them.

“There’s a drainage system there but it’s not working properly,” he said.

“I’ve seen where they clean it sometimes, but it’s still not functioning, and every time they patch the hole we have one set of rain and the hole is there again, and that’s on a consistent basis for years now.

“Every day, every day you’ve lost business because of it. Customers refuse to stop to the store simply because the potholes are there. We have people losing front pieces, rear pieces, bursting tires, ball joints, front-end damage; all of those things are being damaged and also being left in the road…and then we have to go and clear it up to create a level of

sensibility to show that at least we care to a certain extent.”

Will relief come soon?

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in a national address in May that the government will undertake major road works across New Providence.

He mentioned the widening of Gladstone Road, as well as changes to Tonique Williams-Darling Highway, between Bethel Avenue and John F. Kennedy Drive, Village Road and Baillou Hill Road.

However, Josey said that some roads that should be prioritized in the repaving and repair exercises have not been.

“I see some of the roadworks going on and it appears to me that they should be tarring certain roads compared to the ones that they’re resurfacing now,” he said.

“The main highways appear to be fine, but at the end of the day, some of the roads that need attention, main thoroughfares like East Street and Soldier Road, all of those roads need repairs, and it looks like there is no attention being paid to it.”

Kayle Mortimer, owner of Mortimer Candies Limited on East Street, expressed the same concern.

“The state of roads, in general, is very poor,” he said.

“They tend to pave over some of these side roads more than the actual main roads.

“East Street [is] a main thoroughfare which the ambulance has to go down and up just about every time they leave the hospital or are going to it…fire trucks, police trucks. Especially where they did do some work last time, they cut the road, so sometimes when you’re trying to move out of the [way] of firetrucks or police cars, you have to drop literally in bigger ditches on the side of the road, damaging your car.”

While he said he does not believe the poor state of East Street has drastically affected his business, he gets frequent complaints from customers on the condition of the street.

“The last time they did work on the side of East Street, one or two customers had cut tires from it, but sales have not drastically decreased, but I have had a lot of complaints from customers on why the government doesn’t pave the road in front of my shop,” Mortimer said.

Neville Bethel, owner of The Portrait Studio on Nassau Street, said yesterday the road is in urgent need of work. 

“Nassau Street is one of the major thoroughfares in New Providence, and it’s in dire need of repair,” he said.

“There’s constantly work being done on Nassau Street, as we can all see right now…there’s been a major construction effort going on, and we don’t know how far it’s coming up.

“…That has caused a lot of problems, and I’m sure after that there are going to be other reasons for the road to be dug up. We just don’t know as yet.

“But Nassau Street has been in a state of disrepair for a while now, and everybody will be relieved when all of this construction is finally done by the various ministries and that we can ride on a smooth road in comfort.”

Bethel added, “A lot of areas that are patched end right up back with holes a couple of months afterwards, and this being the rainy season right now, it’s continuous. I think they need a better monitoring system.”

Bethel said he believes a better system of reporting potholes and areas in need of repair would allow the government to be more accountable for the issue.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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