The Freeport News was bombarded with calls last week from frustrated residents in West Grand Bahama, voicing their concerns over the condition of the Fishing Hole Road and questioning the status of repairs for the newly constructed causeway.
The long-awaited elevated causeway and side road were severely damaged by storm surge due to the catastrophic Hurricane Dorian, leaving both thoroughfares in shambles resulting in hours long journeys for motorists driving in and out of the Western District.
Several drivers also claimed having experienced mechanical difficulties from the pothole littered road.
Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works has been silent on the matter.
Lewis was appointed as the foreman of the new ministry, implemented to assist with the production of those affected by catastrophic occurrences, however, it is questionable whether or not he is executing his due diligence.
He was appointed during a press conference on September 22, at the Office of the Prime Minister in New Providence, where Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis made the big announcement and added that Lewis will also oversee Special Economic Recovery Zones for Abaco and Grand Bahama and housing relocation.
During the latest update on the Fishing Hole Road several months ago (August 19), this daily contacted the newly appointed minister who confirmed the causeway was ready for its grand opening.
He said in a statement, “The access road to the vendors’ stalls, on the north side, is progressing well. The parking area is pretty much done and the concern that we had with the access to the vendors’ stalls was addressed and is being completed now.
“I have the team coming in from the Ministry of Works tomorrow (Monday, August 19) to do a technical inspection and after the inspection, we will sit down and determine an update where we can open the bridge once it doesn’t conflict with the prime minister (Dr. Hubert Minnis) and the Minister of Work’s (Desmond Bannister) schedule,” said Lewis.
He noted that the road has been adjusted and it was being done a few weeks ago. “It was something that I objected to, because I didn’t feel like it was safe. However, the team from Nassau visited, they agreed and Grand Bahama Port Authority agreed to it and the adjustments were made.”
Noting that the focus was on the entrance and exit of the bridge, Lewis said he is pleased with the progression on the capital project.
“The workmanship was never a concern, just the safety issues were a concern. Of course, the creek will remain only as a service road. If you have noticed, the revetment on the south side, there is still a lot of curry fill and raw rocks hanging out there, that is because in order for the workers to complete that side of the revetment, the existing service road must be closed off. Once the bridge is open, they can now get to the northern side or southern side and finish off the revetment on that side,” he explained
At the time, Lewis noted how proud he was of the those behind completing Grand Bahama’s projects and although the work may have seemed overdue, he said, the government is keeping its promise to the Bahamian people.
Since the complaints, this daily learned that some work has been carried out on the road making it a little easier for motorists to traverse.