June 9, 20111217Views

The Territory has been under flash flood watches and warnings and precipitation levels have caused soil saturation resulting in the collapse of a retaining wall in Hannah’s Estate which contributed to the undermining of a roadway leading to homes in the hillside yesterday. 

On receiving notification of this incident, a team of government officials including the Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Julian Fraser and Dr. James Joyce, an engineering geologist, visited the site to inspect the extent of the damage and to determine the cause. 
Dr. Joyce is in the Territory working with a number of government departments on a project funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to determine cut/slopes definitions to allow for better decision-making for cut/slopes and retaining wall designs.
The home directly below the wall was significantly impacted by the collapse resulting in breakage of windows, blockage of access to the parking area, destruction of the porch at the entrance of the home, and the possible structural impact to the house as well as significant inconvenience to the occupants. 
On investigating the incident, the officials concluded that despite the fact that rainfall amounts were lower than in 2010, the uncontrolled roadway runoff including a contribution of waste water filtered into the soil/fill behind the wall causing its collapse.  
Director of the Public Works Department Dr. Drexel Glasgow said, “One of the greatest concerns for residents within the area is the structural integrity of the roadway,” adding that there is a need to ensure the safety of road users along this driveway. 
Dr. Glasgow stressed, “Every effort will be made in the coming days to engage property owners to allow for widening of the road around the destabilised section.” Additionally, he said the Ministry of Communications and Works has already engaged a local civil engineer to work along with PWD to design a safe retaining structure to allow for stability of the roadway and for protection of homes and road users. He is asking residents and motorists to proceed in the area with caution. 
Chief Planner in the Town and Country Planning Department Mrs. Marva Titley-Smith said, “This situation is unfortunate but it highlights the need for a thorough revisiting of the planning and building process from the sub-division stage through to construction.  I am pleased that we recently received funding to prepare the planning regulations which will help to address these types of issues.”
Director of the Department of Disaster Management Ms. Sharlene DaBreo is reminding the public “we are entering an active hurricane season and any additional rainfall could create further instability of the roadways.”