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NWA says reckless drivers causing costly damage

Published:Saturday | August 29, 2015 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas

WESTERN BUREAU:

The National Works Agency (NWA) is complaining that damage to several lights recently installed along the Elegant Corridor in Montego Bay, St James, was caused by drivers who speed and disregard traffic regulations. This, the agency said, leads to expensive repairs.

"Almost every week, in recent times, you see some of the lights down. It is really alarming because it is an expensive venture to replace these lights. It is going to cost the Government over time due to the reckless driving of motorists," NWA Western Regional Officer Janel Ricketts said. "From even before we officially turned on the lights, quite a number of them have been knocked down. Before the lights were turned on, it was four we had to replace, and since then, it has been six."

Four hundred and forty-seven lights were installed along the Elegant Corridor to provide lighting along the highway from Lilliput, heading towards the Sangster International Airport. They were turned on for the first time in July. The project was done through a partnership between the NWA and the Tourism Enhancement Fund at a cost of $248 million.

Although Ricketts did not give a dollar figure for the cost of repairs to date, she said that the damage to the lights occurred because motorists blatantly disregard traffic signals along the roadway.

"You have traffic signals at several intersections along the Elegant Corridor, but there is total disregard for the signals sometimes, so that is part of what is causing the problem," said Ricketts. "They (motorists) have to climb the curb to knock the lights down, and they get hit down completely, so it tells you the speed motorists are going at because they cannot brake."

Ricketts continued: "We are incurring a significant cost to replace these lights because in most instances, you have to replace the poles. Sometimes the lights are damaged and you have to get the team in to rewire them, and even the foundation sometimes has to be replaced."

Chairman of the St James Parish Council and Mayor of Montego Bay Glendon Harris said that discussions were ongoing with the police to address violations of the Road Traffic Act in a forceful manner.

"The police and I have been in dialogue and we are looking at taking a zero-tolerance approach where you have law-breaking. We are looking at all motor vehicles. There have been too many lapses in enforcing the laws, so persons are doing as they please, which is causing chaos," said Harris.