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New Road Improves Lives of Nord Alexis Residents in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Published 06/01/2015 by Global Communities

New Road Improves Lives of Nord Alexis Residents in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
By Jude Martinez Claircidor, Global Communities Haiti
Two years ago, it was impossible for vehicles turning into Nord Alexis Road from Avenue John Brown to reach Avenue Poupelard. Already suffering from decades of neglect, Nord Alexis Road had experienced severe pavement damage as a result of the 2010 earthquake, making it completely unpassable. To make matters worse, many people whose homes were destroyed set up makeshift shelters on the road’s path, effectively dashing all hope of seeing the road rebuilt one day.
But today, a driver can travel this road in less than five minutes.

Several new companies have opened along Nord Alexis following the reconstruction, including a new Total station.
The residents of the Nord Alexis area could not have imagined their neighborhood would undergo such rapid transformation. The area now has adequate infrastructure, a reliable drainage system, clean drinking water and a functioning electricity grid. Residents are happy to see such a change in an area that had been previously marginalized and inaccessible, and they are excited about the new access road popular with pedestrians and drivers alike.
Work was last performed on the road in 1957. But, in the past 58 years, the road degraded completely and blocked access to both cars and pedestrians because of the gully and rocky slope.
Residents’ hopes were first met during the immediate post-earthquake recovery period, with the implementation of the USAID/OFDA-financed KATYE project implemented by Global Communities (formerly CHF International) in Ravine Pintade. The integrated neighborhood development program improved roads, water and sanitation services, strengthened and rebuilt homes and provided transitional housing units.
In 2012, with longer term development projects taking over from recovery-oriented interventions, Global Communities launched the World Bank-financed PREKAD program. As part of this program, Global Communities built the 700-meter Nord Alexis Road, with a new asphalt cover, drainage systems, 860 square of sidewalks, and 730 meters of stone masonry walls.

Cadet Wikenson can now easily and safely navigate Nord Alexis on his motorcycle.
Cadet Wikenson, 35, was born in the neighborhood. He still lives there. As the driver of a motorcycle taxi, he transports passengers to Nord Alexis and earns an average of 500 gourdes a day (USD 10).
“The entire community appreciates the quality of work that immediately improved our access to a lot of new services. Today, water trucks and garbage collection now can make it to our neighborhood.” Wikenson said. “For example, the new road allowed EDH [electricity generation and distribution company] to expand its network and to install electric meters for residents in the area. DINEPA [water supply company] extended its drinking water network to our neighborhood.”
Wikenson notes that this road is now used as an alternative path for many drivers to avoid traffic congestion.
Several companies have settled along Nord Alexis Road following the construction of the road, including a gas station belonging to the Total group. Herold Deronce, an attendant at Total, describes the previous pitiful state of Nord Alexis Road. “Up to a year ago, this road was muddy and inaccessible, but now with the work done by the PREKAD project, we can drive on it, allowing us to use it as a normal road,” he stated. “The construction of this road has been a catalyst for new businesses in the area. This is certainly the case for Total.”

Roselaure Alexandre who owns a small shop on Nord Alexis has seen her business sales increase by 40% since the road was rehabilitated.
Roselaure Alexandre, 35, has lived in the neighborhood her entire life. After the earthquake she opened a small enterprise which sells food and phone cards in the area. She says the impact of the newly constructed road has helped her business develop. “Following the road construction, more people come to the area and my daily sales have increased by over 40%.”
Noel Jean Romain, a resident of the neighborhood, had the chance to work on two PREKAD projects, the construction of Nord Alexis Road and new housing construction in the nearby Union neighborhood. “It’s very good to see that this development work created so many jobs in our neighborhood for youth who were unemployed,” he said.

Noel Jean Romain was able to get employment helping construct the new road, as well as repairing damaged homes.
In support to the construction works on Nord Alexis Road, Global Communities relocated more than 20 families who were living in tents on the road, and rehabilitated 17 houses that were impacted by the works. Global Communities also installed more than 30 solar powered street lights. “Every night I am happy to look out at my neighborhood that is set alight by the street lights,” said resident Jean Gary Theoronier, whose house was damaged in the earthquake and later repaired. “I am proud of my house and my neighborhood following the work of the PREKAD project,” he said.
Eddy Estimé, one of the area’s esteemed elders, is delighted by the changes. “It’s a great thing. I sent the photo of the reconstructed road to my children in the United States. They were surprised, they would have never thought the road would be like this,” he said.
Global Communities worked with many partners in the completion of the Nord Alexis Road, including the Ministry of Public Works and Communications, the National Laboratory for Building Materials and Public Works, the Port-au-Prince Municipality, Haiti Electricity and DINEPA.