Road conditions within Antigua & Barbuda are definitely a cause for concern, as the majority of roads are in such a deplorable condition and are a nightmare to any vehicle owner. With pedestrians and cyclists being among the most vulnerable road users, poor road surfaces can lead to safety problems and can often be the cause of road accidents.
Motorists are paying taxes and the fees expected to license their vehicles – which are far from inexpensive, but are facing a profusion of inconvenience due to bad roads. Owning and maintaining a vehicle within Antigua & Barbuda can become rather costly due to the poor road conditions that increase the vehicle maintenance costs.
If roads are not repaired properly and maintained, then driving on roads with deteriorated pavements and potholes leads to frequent maintenance at the cost of the owner. Now let’s consider if the government had to take responsibility for the tyres punctured or damages ensued due to the neglect of our roads, rather than the meagre vehicle owner, perhaps we would see some rapid changes to our roads.
The state of our roads are not impossible to restore, it just requires attention, strategy and our government to actually show some concern for the safety and finances of its citizens.
A common observation whilst travelling on these inferior roads are the attempts of repair, which consist of mounds of asphalt covering ditches and potholes. These cover-ups can often times be almost worse than the original pot hole, as the asphalt is not level and retains a ridge between the original surface and the newly laid ‘plug’. It is possible to puncture a tyre or damage a wheel rim when the vehicle makes contact with the newly created ridge.
On other occasions, the asphalt used as a filler, sinks into the original pothole due to bad weather conditions or the fact that when the asphalt is laid, the road is not closed off from traffic to allow time to harden and affix. The attempt of repair then becomes irrelevant and another waste of government funds.
During bad weather conditions, there are some villages that suffer with roads being out of use for a couple of weeks due to flooding, or the craters created being large enough that the puddles in the road resemble Country Pond.
Our roads have been neglected for far too long, it is high time for innovation, investment and initiative. Cement the roads so they are more durable and suited to the climate we endure. If smooth surfaces cause concern for speeding, then speed humps are the way forward as a preventative method. Cut grooves into the surface of the cement roads to channel water away as and when bad weather arises.
Too many motorists fall victim to the state of the roads which cause suspension problems, deterioration of shock absorbers, punctured tyres and, in worst case scenarios, a complete loss of the vehicle.
Bad roads lead to higher tyre cost, danger of accidents, an increased sale of tyres which are non-biodegradable and hence causes an increase in pollution, which affects our environment in a negative way.
So to those who can – keep our pedestrians and motorists safe, keep Antigua & Barbuda green. Restore our roads.