Groundbreaking Welfare Road upgrade on Monday

POSTED: 05/8/11 6:51 PM

St. Maarten – The ground breaking ceremonies for the upgrading of the Welfare Road from the Kruithoff roundabout to the intersection in front of the Daily Extra will be done tomorrow. This was announced at a town hall meeting at the Carl’s Unique Inn on Thursday evening.

The 5.7 million guilder project is financed by the Dutch funding organization Usona is expected to be done in three phases and will include a new road, with proper drainage, lighting and beautification of the entire area.  The project was on the books since 2007 and has been awarded to Windward Roads Director of New Projects Kurt Ruan said.

Ruan said that the government is aware of the flooding residents are faced with after heavy rainfall in different areas. The department surveyed the entire area and came up with a master plan for it. The project is designed to channel the water from the hills and the surrounding areas to the Simpson Bay lagoon.

Ruan explained that all the homes along the road will be connected to the sewage system; the work will include street lighting, proper drainage and total road upgrading. “When the project is completed all overhead wiring from GEBE and cable television will be underground. In the event of a hurricane there will not be any major damage so “that thing will be up and running immediately after.”

The project will be completed before the start of the next tourist season. When the work starts the traffic will be detoured through the Orange Grove Road for the next five months. The work on this road was delayed because of the last Carnival season. Ruan confirmed that when the project is completed there will be no more problems with sewage water on the roads.

The town hall meeting did not pass without citizens expressing serious concerns. There were serious questions when the residents learnt that it was the intention to build a sewage station in the Cay Bay district since this area has been designated as an industrial area. Some residents had never known about this development and questioned the location.

Cay Bay is one of the lowest points on the island and was designated for this project. The residents argued that government should notify them first before going ahead with this project.

 “Cole Bay is the defacto capital of St. Maarten and as a result to get to any place on the Dutch Side of the island once persons arrive at the Princess Juliana International Airport, they have to pass through the Cole Bay area,” said Member of Parliament Jules James.

It is important that we ensure that the work that is being done in the Cole Bay area is not done in “a piece meal fashion” since they have seen it the past where roads that were done had to be repaired because of the pot holes,” James said.  He explained that whenever there is rainfall rocks come from secondary roads and create hazards to car and pedestrian traffic.

 “Because of these problems it is necessary that we ensure that the work is done properly.  It is my vision to ensure that Cole Bay and Cay Bay have proper and constant representation. Though we will not be able to get things done as quickly as possible, they will be done, James said.

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