Residents unite to clear blocked roadways
Several days of torrential rains have seriously impacted some roadways in west Portland, which are now being cleared by residents, even as they are still being affected by the inclement weather.
Landslides and falling rocks, compounded by inundated roadways, have prevented some residents living in the communities of Mahoe, Spring Hill, Charles Town, and Avocat in the Buff Bay Valley from going about their normal day-to-day activities.
Councillor for the Balcarres division, Rohan Vassel, told The Gleaner yesterday that mudslides and land slippages have affected several parochial roads as a result of the rain which has been lashing the parish since last week.
“After a prolonged period of drought, we are now getting the much-needed rainfall, but it also comes at a cost, as between last week and now, we have had to clear several roadways leading into various communities, which have suffered significantly as a result of multiple land slippages, fallen trees, falling rocks, and rivers overflowing their banks. What I am particularly happy about is that rather than standing around and complaining, residents are busily trying to clear the roadways.
“These roads are the responsibility of the parish council (Portland Municipal Corporation), but the community spirit is high, and as such, residents have come out with shovel, picker, ground fork, machete, and power saw. Unity is strength, and rather than sit around and cast blame on the powers that be, the people are helping themselves by clearing their areas.”
The persistent rainfall has also saturated the ground at Charles Town, resulting in small rock and boulders crashing downhill on to the main thoroughfare. Motorists and pedestrians have been instructed to use caution when approaching that area.
Additionally, the road leading to Avocat Primary School was partially blocked due to a landslide and several downed trees. That roadway is now open to accommodate single-lane traffic.
Meanwhile, in east Portland, major drain-cleaning work, which was done earlier, prevented flooding in several communities, including Boundbrook, Janga Gully, Prospect, Folly, Breastworks, Manchioneal, Fairy Hill, and Fellowship.
Mayor of Port Antonio Paul Thompson said the Portland Municipal Corporation carried out extensive drain cleaning prior to the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, with assistance from Member of Parliament Ann-Marie Vaz.
“We have not had such heavy rainfall in a long time, but there are no reports of flooding,” Thompson said.
“Not even the flood-prone areas of West Street, William Street, Manning Avenue, Harris Crescent, Boundbrook and Folly were affected. Yes, there was water on the roadway, but not one single resident was affected. The member of parliament assisted greatly also, and the added resources from her office allowed us to carry out extensive drain cleaning in just about all the communities that have a history of flooding,” Thompson added.