October 25, 2020

Peter Binose: The Argyle Airport road has collapsed again

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screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-10-44-40-am screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-10-44-56-am screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-10-45-06-am screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-10-45-21-amBy Peter Binose

About a month ago I started inspecting the section of road that has now collapsed and it was very obvious that sooner or later it would do just that, and it has.
Here [attached] is a photo taken on November 4 2016 before the final slip. It was then at a critical stage because the land slip was now right up against the road and all that had to happen was for it to continue to slip.

The land the house is on is original land; below the road is all slipped fill.

When the bypass road was built they carved through a hill and filled the big chasm on the other side with the burden carved from the hill. The big chasm was made by seasonal water outpour from the hills over the centuries. The fill was not compacted and like the soil behind Mr Jack’s wall that collapsed it acted like a sponge until the weight was so great it turned semi fluid and simply flowed down the excavated face that the airport engineers had foolishly carved below it. So there was simply nothing to retain it, nothing to support or keep it in position.

Now they come with more nonsense about the ground consisting mainly of sand, there is no sand content whatsoever. They say it is slipping because of the sand, but that is just not true, it is slipping because of human error and that is putting it kindly.

If you remember I told you some time before that the government never fully paid Messrs ‘C.O. Williams’ the road contractor for the Argyle bypass road and the company eventually left the country still being owed $20 million dollars. They hung around for more than a year waiting to get paid, and then left allegedly owing some money to employees and NIS, telling the government if the government doesn’t pay them then they in turn are unable to settle with their employees and others. I did check last year with CO Williams Ltd of Barbados and they confirmed by email that, at that time, they were still owed that money. So I suppose if you believe in Karma the government is now being punished for its failure to once again pay its debts.
The danger now is what may happen to the airport fuel farm a 100 or so feet further down the road which is also built on filled land. The north east corner of the fuel farm compound is washing away and requires urgent attention. If the storage tanks should slip when full the airport may exist no more and may be renamed Argyle Lunar Base, relocated on the moon.

I did notice that the runway on that day 4 hours after the rain had stopped had water rising through the runway and was puddled because the camber is not correct, or even there at all.

Un-compacted ground next to the runway in places is also a problem because the areas have become a big mud pie.

They say things have to get worse before they can get better. But not in SVG and in particular where things are getting worse continuously with nothing better on the horizon.

1/ the fuel storage tanks are built on filled land which has started to water erode in the north east corner, where it is washing away rapidly.

2/ the freight depot is about 4 sizes too small. There should be fork lift drive-in cold rooms, chillers and freezers there about the size of the current building for produce and fish. The depot they have built may only be suitable for orders arriving from , and the overseas mail. So clearly exports by farmers and fisher-folk have been excluded from the project.

3/ the aircraft hanger being built by ‘Pongo’ is too small to hold any meaningful number of aircraft.

4/ there is no room for any of the big carriers to build an engineering hanger. Many big aircraft only have two engines and require hanger engineering space to be able to change engines when they have problems.

5/ the car park is far too small, just hire cars and taxis arriving and leaving will saturate the tiny area.

6/ there are no dedicated airport passenger busses, taxi cost to the leeward will be EC$200

7/ the sea blast at Argyle is many more times more potent and damaging than at Arnos Vale, aircraft will suffer serious damage from metal decay of alloys and mechanical parts and so will the equipment like the fire engines and other service vehicles. Damage to the fences should be viewed as a warning of the Argyle sea-blast potency.

8/ there should have been a short cross airport runway to allow light aircraft to land during inclement weather and wind conditions.

9/ our rescue boats are little more than rubber ducks and will take hours to get to Argyle in inclement weather conditions and big seas.

10/ our hospital is too far away and without a properly suitable emergency and accident facility.

11/ no suitable accident facility at the airport. No ambulances and no equipment.

12/ there are no dedicated rescue helicopters located at the airport.

13/ there are no rescue helicopters or any other type of helicopter anywhere on the island. [nearest is located at St Lucia]

14/ there is no sewage treatment plant at the airport.

15/ there is no facility to dispose of sewage and waste from aircraft.

16/ there is no facility for the disposal of waste, dangerous waste and pollutants from the airport apron, runway or aircraft engineering facility at the hanger and aircraft parking areas. There are no traps for contaminated runway or apron water; everything will be run straight into the sea.

17/ there are no mains electricity supply at the airport.

18/ the runway is built on a swamp and requires a ground radar test for safety purposes.

19/ part of the aircraft apron at the terminal is built on swamp also.

20/ the Yambou river tunneling requires removal and a different system installed.

21/ most of the airport land is only compacted to 45% and should be compacted to 94% and 100%. Aircraft veering off the runway may become buried in soft soil. The soil above the Yambou is not compacted at all.

22/ the approach lights are only connected to a generator and they are required to be connected to a dual supply for emergency purposes. Currently they are not even connected to the generator since they recently dug up the supply lines.

23/ there is over one million cubic feet of contaminated land at the airport, which is now connected to the sea, affecting fish and sea birds.

24/ the land owners whose property was taken to construct the airport remain unpaid eight years after they were due for payment. Vincentians in New York, London and Toronto are going to placard picket the offices of any international carriers who use Argyle Airport.

IMAGES: Supplied – Peter Binose

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DISCLAIMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com or official policies of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com

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