Red Bay roads crumble from neglect

Residents in the Selkirk Drive and Abbey Way area of Red Bay have complained for years to the National Roads Authority about the large potholes and constant flooding that plague their neighborhood, but the roads continue to deteriorate. 

On the road stretching from Shamrock Road back to the North Sound and on numerous small streets in the neighborhood, potholes, some a foot deep, mark stretches of the asphalt. The streets are frequently flooded, and after big storms several inches of water cover hundreds of feet along the roads, residents say. 

National Roads Authority crews were in Red Bay earlier this week to mark the potholes and have promised to resurface some roads in the neighborhood next month. 

Brian Chin Yee, a manager with the roads authority, told neighbors that crews would patch the potholes late last week or Monday this week, but the potholes had not been filled as of Tuesday. 

Geoff Cahill, who lives in the neighborhood, said in an interview Tuesday, “You can’t fix the potholes, it’s beyond that.” He said the entire road needs to be repaved, along with several side streets that need to be raised up and repaved. 

“Every season we go through this,” he said, with heavy rains causing flooding and further damaging the roads. “We’re getting really mad,” he added. 

Neighbors sent a petition to the National Roads Authority and legislators at the beginning of 2014 to ask for funding to be released to resurface the road. 

In a string of dozens of emails dating back to early 2014 and shared by the residents with the Cayman Compass, NRA officials repeatedly promised to repair the roads. Last summer, the NRA told Red Bay residents that funding had been approved in the 2014/15 budget to fix the streets. At that point, the NRA said it expected to start work on the roads in July 2014, which was then delayed again to August or September. 

After the NRA crews patched one side street in the area in September 2014, one neighbor wrote to the NRA: “Friday NRA did a very poor patch job on Abbey Way, even patching areas that were still underwater. I sincerely hope this is not your idea of ‘fixing’ our roads.” 

The correspondence with the NRA, letters and conversations with legislators, and discussions in the neighborhood have continued to today, with the NRA saying it will again patch the holes that have re-emerged in the neighborhood’s roads since the recent heavy rains and try to do something to address the flooding. 

In June, after a tropical wave caused flooding around the island, a Compass reporter documented fish swim­ming down Selkirk Drive. 

Mr. Cahill said the potholes in his area can be more than a foot deep, and in some areas the water on the roads hides the holes. 

He said he recently had to put $1,000 worth of work into his truck for the suspension, ball bearings and other parts damaged by constantly driving through the area. “The whole front end was toast,” he said, adding that the mechanic thought he had been taking his truck off-roading. 

Residents living on Abbey Way, above, and nearby Selkirk Drive in Red Bay have repeatedly complained to the National Roads Authority about the potholes and flooding in the area. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

Residents living on Abbey Way, above, and nearby Selkirk Drive in Red Bay have repeatedly complained to the National Roads Authority about the potholes and flooding in the area. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

The National Roads Authority has marked locations of potholes along Selkirk Drive. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

The National Roads Authority has marked locations of potholes along Selkirk Drive. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY
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4 COMMENTS

  1. This road looks like the roads we had back in 60’s, when the government didn’t have the money to repair the road, but you didn’t get years of promises, when the money was budgeted for road repairs, the roads got repaired. Today looks like it the opposite.

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  2. One of the problems is that many roads have never had a proper foundation. When the holes appear NRA just lay more blacktop over the marl and dirt then before long the water washes it away again and the surface collapses. That is not repairing the roads, it just makes things worse. These roads need ripping up and doing properly.

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  3. So sad, it looks like a third world country driving around Red Bay. These roads need to be completely rebuilt, patching on top of patching is obviously not working.

    Repeating the same actions and expecting a different result is not sane thinking!

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