PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Oliver Williams, USP Candidate # 7 said in a press released: There must be reform of the roads in St. Maarten! Too long have we watched as mediocre work is done and then not too long after, the same roads are back to their previous condition. All over, you see potholes, warped asphalt, water running in the roads, debris in the road and much more.
The last update to our infrastructure was the construction of the Causeway in 2013 (which was a decade ago). In addition to that, there is a high number of vehicles on the road, and new vehicles are joining every day.
It is my belief that the conditions of the roads play a large role in the increased number of accidents on St. Maarten. All too often you see people dodging potholes and other damage in the road. I have even seen people dodging water in the road and end up colliding in another vehicle. The condition of the roads also contribute to vehicle maintenance needs, such as new tires or other mechanical needs. Missing street signs and roads not being outlined are also one of the causes of the increased number of accidents.
Too many times we have seen that when the contractors come and fill the potholes, that some weeks or months down the line, it is right back to how it was. And this is due to poor engineering. Because whether it is due to water settling or heavy loads, or whatever other factor, these factors are not being taken into consideration during planning. It is simple, the root cause is not being solved, so the issue will continue to arise.
Numerous places around the island, we have potholes that have been there so long, that it’s a well-known landmark now. And the people of St. Maarten have even gotten familiar with where the holes are as to dodge them.
Recently the Cole Bay, Union Road was resurfaced. This undertaking took some time, but that is another story. The resurfacing of that road was completed, which it was a great undertaking. However, days after people were already observing water running and gathering in the road. This is because proper drainage and sewage were not implemented also. So although the road has been fixed, and looks and feels nice now, sometime down the line, after this water continues to settle, the road will become damaged once again. Similar to the road in the Bush Road area.
Taking a page out of our French counterpart’s handbook. Shortly after President Mussington’s appointment to office, he began fixing the road on French St. Martin. I personally recall passing at night where the guys were busy working on the roads, and the next morning, the work was finished and those roads were resurfaced and ready to be used by the public. Also, we have seen road work going on all over the French side, where they are installing and upgrading their drainage and sewage systems.
In closing, proper planning and execution must be done for our infrastructure. Or we will be stuck in this vicious cycle, which is costly for the people of St. Maarten, but also for the island of St. Maarten on a whole.