We will open it without the NWA support - Samuels
Lucea's mayor, Councillor Sheridan Samuels, says if the National Works Agency (NWA) does not revert the Willie DeLisser Boulevard to a two-way thoroughfare within a reasonable time, the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) will take the initiative and do it on their own.
Samuels, who is also chairman of the HMC, told The Gleaner that since he spoke publicly in March about the traffic congestion problems resulting from a decision by the NWA to convert all roadways within the town centre into one-way thoroughfares, the agency effected a dual-traffic "dry run" at Mosley Drive, but had ignored the Willie Delisser Boulevard situation.
"We are rightfully engaging them (NWA), and, if after we finish they still can't come to any decision in terms of allowing us, we are going to just go ahead and open up the road," said Samuels, noting that their engagement with the NWA is just out of respect.
GETTING THE SUPPORT
"It is our road ... we were told that we can do anything to a road that we have. We don't want to forcefully do that; we want the support from the NWA also," said Samuels. "We know that in the future, we might need stoplights and we don't want to force ourselves into it without getting the support. But if we have to do it, we are going to do it. We know that this is what can solve the congestion in the town."
Samuels said the situation has been quite frustrating as the NWA's manager in the parish was 'putting up resistance', while not offering any reasonable explanation as to why the Willie Delisser Boulevard should not be reverted to a two-lane thoroughfare.
"He has no valid reason," said Samuels. "Him have some argument bout 'you can't even manage it now as it is.' And I said to the gentleman, 'we intend to give up all of the paid parking that we have there; we intend to give up all of that so that the traffic can flow, so the paid parking won't be a problem no more'. We are giving up the earnings from it to ensure that the traffic flows properly."
Open Willie DeLisser Boulevard, solve traffic problems
"We welcome the current dry run at Mosley Drive, but what we want is the opening up of Willie DeLisser Boulevard," continued Samuels. "We know that this is the thing that will solve the problem itself. Two-way traffic means that traffic coming out the road can easily turn off on Willie Delisser or go straight if they are going over the hill to Haughton Garden. We know two roads taking the traffic out of the town is better than one."
Samuels further noted that although he welcomed the experiment under way at Mosley Drive, he was concerned that the NWA had not informed the public that the roadway was open to two-lane traffic, resulting in it being underutilised.
When contacted, Wayne Cover, the NWA parish manager for Hanover, said that the dry run at Mosley Drive was only carried out over a two-day period and that he would not be commenting on the Willie DeLisser Boulevard conversion matter.
"That (dry run) was done temporarily. We were supposed to have a meeting today, but because of the weather it fell through, so I couldn't give you a report on that. I would have to get the report from the police to see how it operated," said Cover.