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Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan replies to a question posed by Opposition Senator Wade Mark during yesterday’s sitting of the Senate.

The landslip-prone road to St Julien Village, Princes Town, isn’t designed for use by heavy trucks – but two of the 16 landslides on the road are being fixed and there are two alternative roads that can accommodate heavy vehicles.

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan indicated this in the Senate yesterday in reply to United National Congress Senator Wade Mark’s query on when access roads to the community will be improved.

Mark noted poor conditions delayed first responders in the rescue of elderly couple Ramday and Doodooman Sankar, who burned to death in a fire at Princes Town last Sunday.

Sinanan, who extended condolences and sympathies to the couple’s family “under these tragic circumstances,” said the road at issue is one of T&T’s historic roads which evolved with time.

Sinanan added, “It used to be a track and is located on a ridge without any major changes to its structure. It was not designed to carry heavy axel loading and wasn’t designed for use of heavy trucks and 10-wheeler vehicles.

“The history of this road also provides evidence that the soil composition along this terrain is prone to landslips and failures. Over the years, the ministry has constantly conducted repairs to the roadway as a result of these challenges and has done over 40 landslips in an effort to keep this road passable.”

He added, “The ministry continues to be challenged by the soil movement and instability and to date, there are 16 landslips. Two of the critical landslips on the St Julien Road are being addressed to remain passable.”

Sinanan said there are two alternative routes to St Julien village maintained by the ministry and these are in good condition.

The travelling time to the community is the same. We encourage persons to use these routes while we repair roads in the community … it is very unfortunate to lose your parents this way, having lost both my parents a short while ago. Again, condolences to the (Sankar’s) family.”

On time frame for full repair of the bad road, Sinanan added, “As I said, the St Julien Road poses a lot of challenges. There is ongoing work taking place at all times, the road is passable but unfortunately, heavy trucks can’t access the road – the road was never designed for that.

“In this financial year, two additional landslips will be addressed on the road and maintenance work on the road is an ongoing process and that is why the two additional roads to get to the village are maintained for heavier trucks and 10-wheelers. Work continues on the road and two of the 16 landslips will be addressed as it’s an area where you have constant land movements.”