“It’s for public toilets,” said a taxi driver sitting in front of the concrete-block structure taking form in the West End roundabout just before Semana Santa.
“It’s a pump house for the sewers,” said the guy on duty at Anthony’s Chicken, which sits in front of the construction site.
“God knows,” said the clerk at the Coconut Tree mini market.
Regardless of what the structure will contain, many West End business owners viewed it as a prominent eyesore during a peak week for tourism and the latest in a long series of inconveniences related to the Lps. 74 million infrastructure upgrade that began last October (see January Voice).
According to sources involved with the project, the new structure was originally intended to house both electrical controls and a back-up generator for the sewer system that was installed in January, as well as public toilets. But local merchants protested that placing toilets in the roundabout would disrupt traffic and create a hazard for pedestrians, as well as a bad smell.
At a meeting in West End April 3, Roatan Mayor Julio Galindo told local business owners that if they did not want toilets in the roundabout, he would put them somewhere else, and the structure in the roundabout would house only the generator and controls.
As of early April the treatment plant for the new sewage system had been completed and workers were testing the system for leaks, requiring them to occasionally dig up the recently laid pipes to make repairs. One restaurant owner reported March 31 that his establishment had been without water for four days as workers dug up the area in front of his business for what he said was the eighth time.
At press time, work was expected to begin in May on paving the West End road between Crystal Beach Villas and Half Moon Bay Cabins – a 1.4 km stretch. Mayor Galindo said the paving should take less than three months to complete and steps would be taken to “minimize the disruption as much as possible.” Edwad Ake of Island Concrete, the contractor for the paving project, confirmed the design would include a drainage plan. [/private]