October 3, 2022

Peter Binose: Argyle After the Storm

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screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-4-09-25-pmBy Peter Binose

I drove to Argyle the morning after to look at the storm damage. It is very obvious when it rains that the ground alongside the runway is not compacted properly more so in the third third of the runway. Deep tram lines appear which runs with muddy slurry as the liquid ground runs to the lowest point. We have heard how all the ground other than the runway should be compacted to 94% and how the ground at Argyle is only compacted to 45%. That is why it soaks up water like a sponge before turning to a mud slurry. If any medium [from LIAT up] or large aircraft should leave the metalled runway surface for any reason they will bury themselves in the soft ground. That is exactly why the requirement for a 94% compaction is the rule, not the exception and not a choice of the airport management.
Read this also

Some of you will remember when I wrote about the Yambou River tunnels overflowing and taking away the soil either side of the runway. How I was worried that the runway itself was compromised. Well when I wrote that I assumed that the tunnels overflowed due to a volume of water they could not handle. Now after my in depth inspection today I can tell you it was because of them being blocked with boulders and large rocks.
If you recall the governments record on bridges and water is not very good, please read this http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/svg.php?news_id=20896&start=401&category_id=1

I observed today the Yambu River tunnels partially blocked and can well guess that is a repeat of what happened before when I observed the aftermath of the overflow.
Here are some photos taken today showing the partial blockage and the mud jello above the tunnels caused by low compaction and plenty of rain. The muddy area is part of the airport and the blue horizontal line in the distance is the runway.

The new airport perimeter road which runs from Stubbs to Rawacou was supposed to be built to runway standards according to the Cubans but it is already collapsing whenever heavy vehicles pass over it due to little or no compaction beneath it. Also the road camber is in the wrong direction for it to drain into the sea otherwise no drainage hence destruction.
See the photo’s

After I left Argyle and it took me 2 hours to get to Kingstown, land slips, trees down, huge potholes, flooded road, flood debris and deep mud on the road outside Graves in Arnos Vale. Can you imagine if there is an emergency at Argyle and they have to get several hundred people to hospital for treatment? My reckoning it would take about 2 weeks to deal with getting them to the hospital and then only being able to deal with 16 people in 24 hours. No crisis sized blood bank, no burns unit, no graft specialists [except in the government], people are sure to die, like Vincentians die every day from lack of drugs and proper treatment.

We still have no helicopter or rescue boat service for the airport, my old dads saying “they are not ready yet” could never be so relevant as it is today at Argyle.

Rust on the fences is getting much worse, and I observed dozens of sheep and goats running amuck everywhere within the fenced airport, there was even a big group sleeping on the runway.

They still have not tested the runway with ground radar to see what affect the swamp and water springs are having under the runway. Of course as I mentioned before the swamp problem is also under part of the apron and other tarmaced aircraft roads. They have no idea if a void or even a serious sink hole is developing under the runway.

The sea was wicked today and brown with soil and slurry [and oil and tar] flowing from the airport unrestricted. The sea was brown for about 300 feet out and reached as far as Arnos Vale.

I noticed they have been covering up the tar and oil pollution with soil in an attempt to hide it by burying it.

I spoke to several people in Stubbs and asked them about the noise they will suffer when the airport is operational. They looked at me as if I was a Martian asking a silly question, they just had no idea of how bad it will be none whatsoever. I then spoke with a man who lived and worked locally who told me neither the government or the airport company had ever held a meeting with the Stubbs people and discussed or made them aware of pending noise pollution when the airport is open to big aircraft. From what I can gather the people of Stubbs are generally unaware of how the airport will affect them, even down to the use of their little beach. Can you imagine an airport being built anywhere else except Africa or Siberia without holding public meetings to discuss noise pollution with folks living ultra close to the final landing approach?

I counted 18 land slips along the new Argyle bypass road, one so bad that it must have been impassable some short time before I got there. Then later a big machine arrived and started to clear the road.

IMAGES: Peter Binose

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