Watch those potholes

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

The arrival of long periods of rain is a wonderful thing. 

For many people without a steady supply of water and for those farmers who have been waiting for it, the rain is surely an answer to prayers.

And since it has been pouring for the past few days, the sun scorched earth should now be thoroughly quenched so that it continues to give life to everything that depends on it. 

Which is wonderful, we say.

There is a time for the sun and there is always a time for the rain. And for many of us, although the rain indicates the beginning of the wet and cyclone season, it’s a dream for farmers as this is often the best time to put those seeds in the soil.

But there is also another side of the rain we tread on these shores. That is it exposes those poor roads and brings out the nasty and unwanted potholes. 

We see it every year. 

Today, apart from a few obvious roads which were constructed properly, most places you go in Samoa, these potholes confront you. 

You hear the rattling tyres, the suspensions screaming out, you see traffic being brought to a standstill as drivers try to negotiate their way through them. 

What’s worse is that it appears that with the exception of a few road-making companies, the rest of the roads in Samoa are the same. 

Which begs the question, why have we not been able to do anything about this problem after all these years? 

Where have all the millions that the government has allocated for such infrastructure gone to? Who is responsible for these roads? 

And who is supposed to monitor their work? 

If the work is not being monitored – and the culprits held to account – what is the government doing about it? 

If the relevant authorities are not dealing with it, why should we waste taxpayers’ money paying them?

These are not new questions. 

But we continue to ask them because these roads are costing motorists and members of the public their hard-earned tala in repairs, on top of annual – sometimes twice a year – registrations. 

Think of the suspensions, tyres and all the mechanical problems caused by the bad roads. And think of the safety issues and cost in terms of time and money when people are late to work and other commitments.

The point is that after all these years; you’d think some things would change by now. And yet we see the same thing over and over again. 

Every time it rains, the potholes emerge. They get bigger and meaner.

Some are so big they could well swallow someone alive. How long must we put up with this. Over the years, we’ve always identified the lack of drainage as one of the biggest contributors to these road problems. And yet in Apia today, we see that hardly anything has been done. 

We guarantee you that if the downpours continue for a few more days; those very same areas in the Apia Township prone to flooding will go under. Make no mistake about that. How long have we known about the drainage problem and when will this government do something about it? 

Do we need to see another case of flooding to finally act? Do those poor businesses in Taufusi, Saleufi, Fugalei and Savalalo need to suffer one more time for the government to finally fix the drainage system in town? And what’s the point of all those tar sealed roads in the villages without proper drainage? Aren’t we just throwing away money knowing that when the rain comes, the roads will just get washed away?  

So far this year, we’ve only had a few days of heavy downpours and the ugly reality has emerged yet again for all to see. It’s sad and frustrating.

The point is that the potholes are the ultimate sign of poor work and planning that are openly exposed by the weather and the elements. How many millions have we spent on these roads and yet it’s the same thing over and over again?

Does anywhere care? And when are they likely to fix it? Or is it just another case of turning a blind eye and hoping that all these potholes disappear?

Now you be careful out there. It’s slippery and please drive safely. And yes watch those potholes.

Have a safe Tuesday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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