The recently passed Roads (Amendment) Bill, 2018, will impose a $10,000 fine for anyone who excavates any road without a permit.
The bill was passed in the Senate yesterday.
It states: “Any person who desires to make any excavation in or under any public road for any purpose, including the construction of any drain or water-course or the provision of public utilities to any premises, shall make application…and submit the prescribed fee and upon the minister’s approval, the applicant shall be issued an excavation permit.”
The bill says that the person approved for excavation is obligated to fill and restore the surface of the road immediately after the work is completed.
Should anyone excavate a public road without a permit, they will be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine of $10,000, according to the bill. Prior to the amendment, an offender was subject to a fine of only $75.
Anyone who excavates a road with a permit, but does not properly repair it will also be liable to a fine of $10,000.
The bill also increased the fine for continuing offenses. Prior to the amendment, if a disruption to a public road continued over a period of days, offenders would be liable to a $15 fine for each day that the damage, closure or obstruction continues. That has been increased to $5,000 per day.
While he supported the bill, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Fred Mitchell said he is not sure the new law will solve these longstanding issues.
“I’m not sure whether passing a bill or an act is going to solve the problem, but I say to the attorney general, ‘good luck,’” he said.