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ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Road works welcomed but not all at once

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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The Editor,

Having just celebrated our 56th year of independence it appears that our capital city has started to show signs of some midlife maladies. For some time our ageing road network has been taxed, as its use has steadily increased, while its effectiveness has fallen sharply. The road network in Kingston and St Andrew is part of the delayed developmental process. It is, therefore, a welcoming and decisive action to see the critical examination and adjustments made to the road networks to accommodate the increased number of road users.

Sadly, it is a pity that this affirmative action was not organised differently. While we acknowledge that there must be dislocation and discomfort during the improvement phase, one cannot accept that the renovations should all be taking place at the same time. The motoring public in the city has undoubtedly reduced choices of roadways which are not currently being improved by the National Works Agency (NWA) or being affected by the National Water Commission's (NWC) project. From the external view, it appears that greater coordination between both NWA and NWC could be beneficial to all. The truth is that, even though the enhancements will eventually save individuals and the economy as a whole, there is currently a negative cost to motor vehicle owners. There have been considerable damages to motor vehicle's suspension, and recently a muffler was seen in one of the trenches along the Mountain View corridor.

Albeit that the contractors for the NWA are working around the clock which helps to reduce the completion time, the danger with the number of road works being completed at the same time lies with any changes in the weather conditions. Given the number of trenches which have been filled with marl, if we have significant rainfall, there would be serious challenges for the motoring public.

All phases of the road improvement projects are crucial. It is imperative that the end of project activities be assessed appropriately to ensure the best flow for the users of the roadway. A closer look at the Barbican road upgrading project shows that there is the need for reassessment of lane usage on both sides. The instructional arrows on the thoroughfare are dangerous and may contribute to accidents, as they require the motorist to be switching lanes illogically. Besides, pedestrians have been seen climbing over the barriers in the middle of the road in an attempt to get public transportation. It might be argued that this action could be attributed to indiscipline; however, one expects improvements of any kind to result in progress, not retrogression.

The multiple road works have contributed to the traffic congestion in Kingston and St Andrew. There was an adverse effect on productivity and other economic factors on the last Friday in July, resulting from the traffic gridlock which occurred in the city. Callers to radio programs shared experiences such as waiting at traffic signals which changed as many as ten times without any movement. The likelihood is that the last Friday in August will have similar traffic congestion issues as commercial activities will increase as a result of back to school shopping. More police presence will be required this month end to avoid the wanton waste of productive time on the streets due to gridlock traffic congestion. The motoring public also looks forward to the police traffic division taking charge of the roads in the morning and evenings for the new school year as all the current road works will be uncompleted.

Road improvements are welcome, traffic congestion is not, let us juggle these activities!

Melva Armstrong
Lecturer, UTECH

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