Mon | Sep 23, 2019

‘A public embarrassment’ - NWA boss blames pedestrian crossing foul-up on contractor

Published:Tuesday | September 10, 2019 | 12:23 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Sixty-one-year-old Arleen Byrd steps over a Jersey barrier as she uses a pedestrian crossing along the busy Constant Spring Road in St Andrew yesterday.
Sixty-one-year-old Arleen Byrd steps over a Jersey barrier as she uses a pedestrian crossing along the busy Constant Spring Road in St Andrew yesterday.

Moments after 61-year-old Arleen Byrd scaled the Jersey barrier separating the four lanes on Constant Spring Road in the vicinity of Shortwood Road, she joked about her athletic prowess in high school.

However, she pointed out, the folly of having a freshly painted pedestrian crossing leading across the concrete barrier and the danger that it could cause was no laughing matter.

“I wondered what they were doing, because how can you have a crossing that leads into a barrier? What were they thinking?” she said after crossing the thoroughfare, which is undergoing upgrading works.

Others who noticed the “error” joked that “what is needed was a ladder cross it”.

Economist Dr Damien King also highlighted the situation on his Twitter page, saying: “Seems the crew responsible for (the break in) the wall were given wrong coordinates from the one responsible for painting the crosswalk. [Constant Spring Rd by Shortwood Rd].”

Yesterday, National Works Agency (NWA) boss E.G. Hunter acknowledged the blunder.

“It’s a public embarrassment in terms of the visual effect, but it’s not something that is calamitous,” Hunter told The Gleaner. “But at the same time, I wish to assure the public that the contractor will be correcting that error by cutting the barrier in the right location at no cost to taxpayer or Government.”

Missed the mark

He explained that the NWA painted the crossing at a predetermined location and that for the contractor to miss the mark is of his own doing.

“This additional piece of work is all on the contractor. This is not the norm. It just so happened that the contractor did not leave the opening at the position that’s on the drawing, and how it works in a contract is that whenever a contractor makes an error, he’s issued with an instruction and that is at his expense,” said Hunter.

He said that the NWA had designated the crossing through the barrier and that the agency was moving to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the roadway, especially in school zones.

“We have identified all schools along the corridors where children will be traversing and those will be marked,” Hunter said. “The location of pedestrian crossings is predicated on safety purposes and proximity to places most used by pedestrians.”

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com