Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Hanging by a thread! - Wigton residents call for help to stabilise breaking roadway

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2020 | 12:18 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
A section of the roadway in Wigton, south Manchester, that is breaking away.
A section of the roadway in Wigton, south Manchester, that is breaking away.

Wigton, South Manchester

A compromised roadway caused by what residents believe to be caused from mining by bauxite company Alpart, has heightened the fears of residents in sections of Wigton in south Manchester, who feel they may soon be cut off’ from the outside world.

Claudette Hewitt, who has lived on the private road in the community for many years, said the mining took place just opposite her land and now the roadway that separates the properties is quickly eroding.

“My light post is just at the edge of the roadway, the road crack in two and nobody cyan drive there. We have been calling the authorities and we can’t seem to hear anything happening. If the rains continue, that’s it for us!”

Hewitt said the effects of the heavy rains over the weekend exposed the seriousness of the challenge they face with the road surface, which is now being held together by marl. She believes it will continue to erode as the water seeps through the cracks and further compromise the foundation.

ROAD NOT STABLE

“As it stands, no one can come in and no one can go out, at least not in a vehicle. If we passing, we have to walk over in our neighbours’ yard. We cyan walk on the road because it is not stable. Anything too heavy that passes can further widen the crack, or even break the road completely.

Hewitt said she reached out to representatives of Alpart, who assured her that they would address the issue. However, she is yet to see anyone.

“I have lived here for over 40 years and I have never seen this before. Some of these roads are over a hundred years old. When Alpart came here to mine about three or four years ago, they said they would come back to dump up the place, but they damaged the road and that’s why the roadway cannot stand.”

Hewitt told The Gleaner that she has had to put up a red flag as a caution sign for persons who seek to drive into the area.

“This is a disaster waiting to happen. I hope nobody gets sick over here and has to be taken to the hospital, because we would have to lift them up and walk through the bush. Even where I was able to put up the sign has been compromised, so we know the soil beneath is slowly eroding.”

Councillor for the area Iceval Brown said though it is a private road, she will be reaching out to representatives of the bauxite company to remedy the situation at the earliest possible time.

Brown added that she is also in dialogue with the superintendent of roads and works at the Manchester Municipal Corporation to provide funding for tbe clearing of debris across sections of south Manchester.

Calls made to representatives of Alpart went unanswered.