By Mandy Thompson
Taxi driver Neil Boucher goes where a lot of other taxi drivers won’t—the potholed roads of Industry, on the East Coast of Demerara.
Residents of the community say the potholed road network in the area, including the main road, makes life hard for them. The roads, once bitumen-surfaced, are now covered with soil and the residents want them properly repaired.
Minibus operators and taxi drivers like Boucher are severely affected by the situation, which is taking a toll on their business and their vehicles.
During a visit to the area on Wednesday, Stabroek News observed many vehicles dodging the large potholes in the road while simultaneously attempting to avoid colliding with pedestrians and cyclists who traversed the narrow roadway.
Boucher said that other taxi drivers are refusing to travel in the area because of the state of the roads. Only last week, the road in his area started to deteriorate. He said it was built by the H Nauth and Sons Construction firm about two years ago and he blamed poor work for its present condition.
He also observed that while the road was being built, huge trucks that were involved in the construction had damaged several sections. Nevertheless, he explained that he continues to operate in the area out of kindness.
Taxi driver Arvin (only name given), who also operates in the area, said that the roads started to deteriorate shortly after they were built.
He said that because of its state, his taxi service has been losing customers since the drivers cannot make pick-ups in some areas where the roads are extremely bad.
“It makes no sense to go in there and then you got to spend more money to repair yo car,” Arvin said, noting that the situation becomes worse in the night since it is very hard to see the pot holes. He added that because of the width of the road, drivers are forced to drive in a haphazard manner while dodging pedestrians and potholes along the way.
A shop owner, who can see the traffic along the roadway close to her business, said the road worsens when it rains, forcing some persons to avoid using it.
She added that her daughter, who drives to work, cannot use the road and is forced to use an alternative route. The authorities, she added, had promised to fix the road but nothing has been done to date.
Region Four Chairman Clement Corlette told Stabroek News that the roads within the Industry/Plaisance block are being rehabilitated under the Community Road Improve-ment Programme (CRIP) of the Housing Ministry. He said that the roads, under the CRIP project, are being renovated under two lots; Lot A, at a cost of $133M and Lot B, at a cost of $152M. However, he said, only the Crown Dam road in Industry is slated for rehabilitation under the programme. Corlette added that generally the roads in the area are in a good state but residents would have their own concerns and opinions about the roads passing through their area.
Another resident, who gave his name as Dennis and who sells at a small stand in the area, expressed his disgust at the situation.
He also said that the roads become worse when it rains and vehicles take more time to travel in and out of the community.
A mason in the area told this newspaper that he has to traverse the roads everyday to get to work. He said that he rides his bicycle to work every day and must navigate past the potholes. He described the situation as being fatiguing, adding that it also affects his pregnant girlfriend, who often complains about the state of the road.