Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Town Council road paving plan underway; hiring workers to help complete the project

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A project spearheaded by the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and the central government to pave 7.5 miles of roads in San Pedro Town started with the first phase commencing on Blake Street. The anticipated project south of San Pedro will cover several streets linked to Marina Drive, including some side streets through the southern subdivisions of DFC and Escalante. The project will also include streets in San Pedrito, San Juan, Boca del Rio, and San Mateo. With an adequate workforce, the project will be completed within a year. Project managers are hiring workers and encourage anyone on the island looking for a job to visit the Town Council offices for the opportunity to work on this infrastructural project.
Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez hopes the streets will be paved before the stipulated time. He said this will depend on many factors, such as weather and workforce. “It will require a lot of manpower,” Nuñez said. “There are openings for people to come and apply for jobs, particularly persons familiar with this type of job.” Those looking to work will count on a stable job for around a year.
The project to pave these streets was officially inaugurated on May 11th by Mayor Nuñez and his Councillors, along with Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez. The pavement of these streets was a promise made by the current local government, and although they started the project in the last year of their first term, Nuñez said the identified streets had first to be prepared. According to him and Perez, one of the obstacles was the increase in the price of the construction materials and the logistics to transport these to the island. This delay, combined with the preparation of the streets, resulted in the works starting until almost mid-May. However, Perez joined the Mayor, saying that although there was a delay, one of the reasons was to deliver a job well done. The benefited streets will count with proper drainage and infrastructure to accommodate the utility companies.
Over the years, San Pedro residents have stipulated better streets, particularly in the subdivisions and Marina Drive. Marina Drive leads to a port facility south of town where all barges dock with goods transported from the mainland. The goods are then transported via cargo and semi-trucks to the different distributors in San Pedro. One of the main criticisms was the deplorable conditions of this stretch of road. Not only would it delay goods delivery, but it also meant damage to people’s vehicles when driving through these streets. Residents living near these areas (Marina Drive, DFC, San Pablo, Escalante), especially students, were also affected when the streets flooded. The other problem expressed by those living along these roads is the issue of dust during the dry season. This problem leaves homes covered with dust blankets and poses a health threat. As a result, the need for better infrastructure, such as road paving, continued a growing concern among islanders over the years.
With a new administration holding the reins, islanders say the situation has improved, but more needs to be done. When the Nuñez administration took office in March 2021, addressing the road issues was prioritized. According to Nuñez, his team had to first deal with the state of the town council, which they claim was in a dire financial situation. In August of that same year, works started on the main streets to be paved in 2023.  These works made these streets more resilient to the natural elements while the SPTC prepared to pave them.
After these repairs, residents like San Pablo, DFC, and Escalante reported fewer issues on these main arteries. Despite these upgrades, the side streets continued experiencing flooding during the rainy season. However, now that these streets will be paved, the island population across these subdivisions is thankful and hoping for a long-term solution.

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