Tue | Oct 23, 2018

No happy Christmas for Barbican - Road expansion completion extended by three months

Published:Thursday | November 30, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke
Workers conducting a land survey on the cleared space adjacent Hi-Lo Food Stores along Barbican Road in St Andrew, on Tuesday.
Roadwork under way in Barbican, St Andrew.
Roadwork under way in Barbican, St Andrew.
Traffic congestion in the vicinity of Barbican Square, St Andrew, on Tuesday.
Traffic congestion along Barbican Road, St Andrew, on Tuesday.
Traffic congestion along East Kings House Road, St Andrew, on Tuesday.
Workers conducting a land survey along Barbican Road in St Andrew on Tuesday.
Business owner Neville Yee shares his frustration with the dust nuisance being caused by the road-expansion work along Barbican Road in St Andrew.
Workers conducting a land survey along Barbican Road in St Andrew on Tuesday.

Residents, business operators, and motorists in the Barbican area of St Andrew will have to put up with three more months of dust and traffic congestion, as the December deadline for work to be completed on road expansion has been pushed back.

Stephen Shaw, the National Works Agency communications manager, explained that this is to allow the contractors, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), time to install water and sewer mains.

It will now take the full six months (up to February 2018) under the terms of the contract to bring the road expansion to a completion, instead of the December date, which was tentatively set.

"The setback has to do with the installation of a sewer main and a water line, which was delayed because of the recent inclement weather," Shaw told The Gleaner.

"But if everything holds, we should still be completing those things in about two weeks; but while saying that, the contractor is still doing work in areas that the sewer and water lines have been put down and those have been tested and proven be to be in good order. So embankments are being created in those areas while some amount of concrete work is taking place."




The project is being undertaken by CHEC at a cost of US$4.4 million to upgrade the 1.1 kilometre section of Barbican Road.

It is being expanded to a four-lane dual carriageway, running from the intersection at Russell Heights main road to Jacks Hill Road. The expansion also includes converting the one-way section of Barbican Road and the one way south-bound section of East Kings House Road to two-way traffic.

Traffic lights will be installed at Birdsucker Lane, East Kings House Lane, and the Jacks Hill Road intersection.

Pedestrians will have the use of 1.5-metre-wide sidewalks and the roadway will be illuminated by LED lighting, with thermoplastic road marking and raised pavement markers among the improvements.

It is projected that completion of the project will result in enhanced pedestrian safety through improved pedestrian facilities and management, and reduced vehicle operating cost through improved road conditions.

It will also cause a reduction in the number of traffic crashes as a result of the improved road conditions, which will significantly cut the level of driver frustration and reduce travel time.

... The dust is unbearable, says business owner

Business owners and motorists say that while they have high hopes of what the end result will eventually be once the road expansion work is completed in the Barbican Road area of St Andrew, the constant dust nuisance is creating some amount of worries. They will now have to put up with it longer than expected, because the completion has now been pushed back by three more months.

Neville Yee, who operates a nearby hardware store, told The Gleaner that the dust is the main issue that is affecting his business.

"In the long term, I think it will be good for Barbican, but right now it's a nuisance too because the dust is unbearable at times," he said. "I can only assume that the widening will bring the terrible traffic congestion to an end. I believe in what they are trying to do but the wait is killing me."

For motorists Lynden Pearson and Lester Coley, the wait can't come soon enough.

"I would have liked to know it would be completed by December, but such is life. Three more months is a long wait driving around here, but we have no choice," Coley said.

"We just have to let them get on with the work. I understand that it's the rain that caused the delays, so I give them that because man nuh mek rain fall. But it's terrible driving in peak hours in Barbican. I am just praying that February comes fast enough," Pearson reasoned.