Jansen-Webster Provides Update on “Sinkhole” at Cole Bay Hill

Minister of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor (VSA), Mrs. Veronica Jansen-Webster


PHILIPSBURG – Acting Minister of VROMI Veronica Jansen-Webster, in keeping with her remarks during the State of Affairs press briefing on Tuesday, 21 May 2024, provided an update on the status of the “sinkhole” that was identified on the A.J.C. Brouwers’ road.

“First, I want to thank the public for their patience while the Department of Infrastructure Management has worked on identifying solutions for this problem,” Jansen-Webster said in her statement. “Second, after consulting with Chief of Staff Raeyhon Peterson and the Department of Infrastructure Management, I can state that the repairs to rectify the road depression issue will most likely take place in the second week of June. When the date for repairs is set, VROMI will communicate road closures for an estimated time of 8:00 PM to 6:00 PM.”

Jansen-Webster explained that the culvert (concrete drain box) that is in the location of the road depression that is currently covered by a metal plate. A culvert is a structure that channels water so it flows past an obstacle or underground waterway; there are several along the A.J.C. Brouwers Road. 

“It is alarming that this possible failure of the culverts has been hinted to by previous Ministers but no action was taken,” Jansen-Webster stated. “The reconstruction of the damaged culvert at the current road depression location will be done using what is called the “prefab format.” The construction process takes 14 to 28 days before installation can safely be completed, otherwise we risk collapse. Luckily, once the date is set, all works can be completed in one night.”

Jansen-Webster also cautioned that all other culverts along the A.J.C. Brouwers Road will be inspected and their lifespan assessed so that future replacements can be planned. The Acting Minister and her Chief of Staff are working on a maintenance plan that would allow the culverts and other such structures to be assessed more frequently, thus avoiding the risk of their lifetime expiring. 

“According to my Chief of Staff, when he asked when these structures were last inspected, he could not receive a uniform answer,” Jansen-Webster stated. “It’s possible they went more than 40 years without assessment, and these are the process gaps that we hoped to close.”