Death trap?

Death trap?

Trelawny police to step up patrols in crash-prone areas

BY MARK CUMMINGS
Editor-at-Large
cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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HAGUE, Trelawny — The Trelawny Police Traffic Department is to increase patrols in sections of the parish, particularly on the section of the Northern Coastal Highway between the Hague turn-off and the traffic signals at the road leading to Daniel Town where there have been two fatal crashes resulting in five deaths since the start of the year.

The latest incident occurred at about 5:00 am Saturday when 34-year-old Ricardo Smythe of Hague Settlement in Trelawny was killed when the Nissan Serena bus he was driving reportedly collided with a truck travelling in the opposite direction.

Symthe, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, reportedly died on the spot, while the driver of the truck escaped major physical injuries.

His death brings to seven, the number of people killed in road accidents in the parish since January.

The accident occurred in the same vicinity where four men died in a two-vehicle collision three weeks ago.

Head of the Trelawny Police Traffic Department, Corporal Kirkland Cross, has blamed poor usage of the roadway by motorists as the major factor contributing to the crashes.

He stressed that the police will conduct robust activities on the roadway in an effort to minimise the road carnage.

“We will definitely be stepping up our operations in the area, especially between Thursday and Sunday from about 12:00 midnight to the 7: 00 am, when most of the crashes seem to happen,” Cross told the Jamaica Observer West.

“Our operations will be robust as motorists must obey the rules governing the usage of the road.”

A source close to the traffic department, however, told the Observer West that the department is woefully short of resources to “properly police the roadway”.

“The department is in need of more radar detectors, more police personnel, breathalysers… the resources are just not there... they [police] are handicapped,” said the source, who did not want to be named.

The roadway in the vicinity of Hague where there have been the two fatal crashes this year is not lit, and is said to be bumpy in several areas. It is also in dire need of markings and signage.

Several motorists believe that such conditions have also contributed to the crashes.

“That section of the roadway is a death trap. In recent years there have been a number of crashes along that stretch of roadway,” a frequent user of that section of the highway told the Observer West.

But community relations officer for the National Works Agency (NWA) western region, Janel Ricketts is maintaining that speeding is to be blamed for the majority of accidents on the thoroughfare.

“Motorists are encouraged to travel within the speed limits as speeding is attributed to a number of accidents along the roadway,” Ricketts stressed.

She told the Observer West, however, that several miles along sections of Trelawny—including the area where there have been the fatal crashes since January — and St James legs of the highway are to get attention in coming months.

“The NWA is now in the final stages of procurement of a multimillion-dollar road remarking contract,” said Ricketts.

“The contract will involve the re-marking of the section of the roadway between the Glistening Waters area, near Falmouth, and the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.”

She explained that the project will be broken down in phases, with the first being between Falmouth and Sea Castles, and thereafter between Sea Castles and Sangster International Airport.

“The project will involve the installation of raised pavement markers, white thermoplastic edge line road markings, centre line road markings, road marking hatchlings, directional arrows, and stop bars,” she told the Observer West.

The project, she added, is on the heels of a $42.9 million contract devoted to the re-marking of sections of the corridor between the Runaway Bay Police Station in St Ann and the Glistening Waters Marina.


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