Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman told reporters on Wednesday that Government is looking at a permanent fix for the Aishalton main access road that was completely destroyed due to flooding.
The community of Region Nine and surrounding villages are now cut off from Lethem following days of heavy rainfall.
The Minister said engineers are in the region assessing the damages and working on the solution and exploring possible culverts to use for the Aishalton road.
“We are seeing some new technology out of Brazil and we are exploring the possibility of bringing some of that to do a fix, because we don’t want to fix something for a week or a month, we are looking at a longer term fix on this project,” Trotman said.
Toshao Michael Thomas said that the area becomes swampy and turns into a creek during the rainy season.
According to the Toshao, every year the same spot on the road washes away and is replaced by wood, however, he is recommending that concrete is used when rebuilding.
He said in 2017 and 2018 after a section of the road was destroyed, residents placed boulders and made a temporary bridge so that vehicles could have traversed.
However, the Toshao said this year the situation is worse.
According to Thomas, there is another access road out of the village but it is more than 25 miles away through a village called Awarewaunau.
The Toshao said villagers and businesses are being affected because they cannot get food and fuel into the village from Lethem. The Toshao said residents from seven villages utilize the Aishalton road to get to Lethem.
Meanwhile, Minister Trotman also noted that they are working on the challenges on the Lethem from Kurupakari.
“About a week and a half to two weeks ago the road developed some serious challenges…we have since been able to get traffic moving again using some sand,” Trotman said.
The Minister also said, “But we have to all recognize that this is the rainy season it’s not a paved road or with bitchamin or with concrete and so it’s more of amatter of regulation.”
The Minister said he has asked the Commissioner of the Forest Industry to meet with the logging companies and talk to them about regulating the movement of logging trucks.
He also noted that there have been Chinese and Brazilian companies expressing interest to build the Lethem road.
“We do have proposals but I don’t believe we are at the stage yet of qualifying and quantifying who will do what,” Trotman said.