Cuba Headlines

Cuba News, Breaking News, Articles and Daily Information

Coastal roads under repair in eastern Cuba after Dean
Road repair crews from Guama municipality and the rest of the province of Santiago de Cuba are working hard to open sections of the coastal highway that borders the base of the Sierra Maestra Mountains washed out by Hurricane Dean.

The highway was badly damaged by the huge waves generated by Dean as it churned south of Cuba, on its path through the Caribbean Sea.

Prompt and intense repair work has already restored many of the sections of coastal roads.

Candido Nunez, first secretary of the Communist Party of Guama municipality, said the powerful waves went inland more than 100 meters in some places, leaving some 5,000 people living in places like Ocujal del Turquino, La Plata and La Magdalena isolated from the rest of the province and the nation.

Yaquelin Rodriguez Torres, vice-president of the local government of Guama, said that an important part of their efforts to restore roads is taking place in a section of about 300 meters that left Ocujal isolated. There the force of the hurricane surge washed away a mountain slope. Authorities are debating whether to replace this part of the coastal highway next to the seashore, or even build a new segment further inland.

Opting for a new highway across the mountain range, would require building some ten kilometers of new roads in a rugged area, requiring substantial resources and extra care to avoid damaging one of Cubas most important ecosystems.

The section of the coastal highway between Palma Mocha and La Plata, close to 800 meters, presents another difficult problem. It has not been repaired yet and most residents believe it should be abandoned as it is an area that used to be part of the sea and is destroyed frequently by storm surge.

Local authorities are shuttling residents through the affected stretch using heavy-duty six-wheel drive trucks owned by the nearby farm cooperatives. In the meantime, a final decision must be made regarding a mountain tunnel begun, but left unfinished, 17 years ago. The other option is building a road across the top of the mountain slopes.

In the proximities of the Cotobelo tunnel, road workers immediately started working after the storm was over and access to the community of La Magdalena has been restored. Nevertheless this is not considered to be the final, definitive, solution.

The costly Granma Coastal Highway was the most expensive public works project carried out by the Revolution in the province of Santiago de Cuba. It had a major impact on life in the area with numerous benefits for residents and the local economy, linking Santiago de Cuba and Pilon, and providing access to beautiful landscapes, which became an attraction to national and foreign visitors.

The road also made possible a series of improvements in the area facilitating educational and healthcare programs, and social infrastructure.

Source: By José Antonio Torres, Granma

Related News