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High Voltage Cable Laying Project poorly planned- Hon Fraser

- to press Works Minister to ease traffic issues in 3rd District as a result of BVIEC’s high-voltage underground cable being buried from Pockwood Pond to Long Bush
Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) and Leader of the Opposition and Representative for the Third District Hon Julian Fraser RA at the community meeting last evening February 12, 2016. Photo: VINO
Leader of the Opposition and Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA said that there was poor planning surrounding the excavation works in areas including the Third District, where the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) is laying a high-voltage cable underground as part of its Phase 5 upgrade. Photo: VINO
Leader of the Opposition and Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA said that there was poor planning surrounding the excavation works in areas including the Third District, where the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) is laying a high-voltage cable underground as part of its Phase 5 upgrade. Photo: VINO
Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) speaking during the meeting. Photo: VINO
Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) speaking during the meeting. Photo: VINO
A section of the audience in attendance. Photo: VINO
A section of the audience in attendance. Photo: VINO
Deputy General Manager of the BVIEC Henry O. Creque speaking during the meeting. Photo: VINO
Deputy General Manager of the BVIEC Henry O. Creque speaking during the meeting. Photo: VINO
A member of the community speaking during the meeting. Photo: VINO
A member of the community speaking during the meeting. Photo: VINO
Some of the ongoing cable-laying works in parts of Sea Cows Bay. Photo: VINO
Some of the ongoing cable-laying works in parts of Sea Cows Bay. Photo: VINO
The works are expected to be completed in April 2016. Photo: VINO
The works are expected to be completed in April 2016. Photo: VINO
SEA COWS BAY, Tortola, VI - Leader of the Opposition and Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA said that there was poor planning surrounding the excavation works in areas, including the Third District, where the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) is laying a high-voltage cable underground as part of its Phase 5 upgrade.

He was speaking last evening February 12, 2016 at the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay on the Virgin Islands’ main island of Tortola at a meeting to discuss the ongoing cable-laying works in the Third District.

The high-voltage cable is being laid from Pockwood Pond to Long Bush and when completed in April 2016 should bolster the corporation’s transmission and distribution capacity.

In addition to residents of the various Third District communities, present at the meeting were Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), Deputy General Manager of the BVI Electricity Corporation Henry O. Creque, the contractors performing the works and other officials from the Works Ministry.

Chaos the result of poor planning

“What we are witnessing is a situation that can develop into something much worse once it gets into Sea Cows Bay [fully],” said Honourable Fraser, noting that the works are now on the outskirts of Sea Cows Bay.

“What is taking place is the result of poor planning, or no planning at all...and I am not talking about today...I am talking about in the past. Down in the streets where these contractors are laying their cables they are encountering innumerable problems...problems with Cable and Wireless, they criss-crossed in many ways. Then you have culverts and you have pipes,” he said.

“The real purpose of the meeting is to have the Minister here with the team of contractors along with the community to voice their opinion as to what they feel is taking place and to give suggestions as to how to move forward with it and hope that the contractors could make the adjustments as necessary,” Honourable Fraser said.

Taking the floor, Minister Vanterpool said that on Monday February 8, 2016, himself along with Honourable Fraser and other officials visited the ongoing works to look at the issues with a view to discussing with the contractors and the BVIEC to see how best any difficulties could be dealt with.

The Minister explained that the project is part of the Phase 5 electricity programme and with that investment’s addition of new generation units, it was necessary to have additional transmission capacity to go along with them, hence the need for the new high voltage lines being laid.

The Minister noted that the project is causing traffic disruptions in the night and he said that he will be speaking with the Commissioner of Police to get the assistance of traffic ranks of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF).

Traffic diversions not enough

According to Honourable Fraser there have been traffic diversions in the community to facilitate the works. However, he said that diversions alone are not enough.

“Adequate provisions must be made for people who are travelling in those areas. Many don’t know the areas...people are still parking on the side of the road in those areas where you divert the traffic and it is very difficult for people,” he said.

Both the Minister and Honourable Fraser said that the men operating the stop and go signs need to be more assertive.

According to the two, the men doing those duties seem not to be able to ensure that drivers obey their signals, thus adding to the traffic woes.

It was suggested that temporary traffic lights be installed in the most affected areas but when considering the time it will take for the lights to be imported, it was decided that such a suggestion would be impractical at this stage.

It was further suggested that part of the sidewalk be condemned and used to facilitate the flow of traffic.

Honourable Fraser said that everything must be done to ensure that the safety of the residents of the area as this is paramount.

One woman said the there is need for everyone to be careful and that there should be police on the ground especially in the rush hour.

Honourable Fraser said access to property must be maintained. “We must make sure that we keep the community happy as we go on,” he said.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Honourable Fraser told the Minister that he would be holding him to the commitments he made to try to bring relief to the people of the Third District by implementing the suggestions made regarding Police presence, traffic control, detour routes and other related matters to the cable-laying project and its effect on residents of the Third District and those passing through it daily.

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