Tue | Jan 24, 2017

Road-safety advocates give green light to new highway

Published:Saturday | August 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Sheldon Wiliams, Staff Reporter

Road-safety advocates have expressed their satisfaction at the recently opened Mount Rosser bypass after an organised tour to the location on Thursday. The highway, which is the first leg of the north-south highway project under Highway 2000, had been criticised by some motorists who complained about the steep incline on sections of the roadway.

Executive director of The National Road Safety Council (NRSC), Paula Fletcher, said she was satisfied that the concerns of motorists had been addressed by engineers of China Harbour Engineering Company. "We had been hearing the feedback from the public generally and it surrounded three main areas: the slope of it, the speed of it, and vehicles that are not in proper repair not being able to make the slope when going up the hill ," she said.

She said the gradient of the slope should not be problematic for most, because it is not the steepest in the island, and so motorists should be able to negotiate it once their vehicles are in good working order.

VEHICLE SHOULD BE IN GOOD ORDER

"I would think that one would just need to know how to drive on it and have your vehicle in good repair so that when you are going up the slope you are able to maintain a good amount of speed and go over the slope rather than shut off," she said. "And coming down the slope, you should be able to engage that third gear so that you use that engine compression to sort of hold you back against gravity," she said.

Fletcher also lauded the inclusion of arrester beds along the highway on to which motorists can drive in case of emergencies when descending the slope. "It is quite a unique figure, that if you are coming downhill and you think you are going too fast, you just head your car in that direction and it goes up a slope. And I gather that there is a special gravel in place that will hold the car."

The inclusion of cameras in that area and solar lighting to provide high visibility at night were also commended by Fletcher. "The cameras now will bring to the attention of the maintenance team that there is a vehicle in difficulty and they will come and help you out".

The 80-kilometre-per-hour speed limit also received the support of road-safety advocates.

A pitfall Fletcher identified was open trenches along the roadway that may prove hazardous, but the plans of engineers to address that problem provided some comfort. "There are some types of open trenches when heading north that we were concerned about, but I gather that they are going to be putting up barriers to prevent people from running off," she remarked.

"If we use the road how we are supposed to use it, all in all it is a win-win," Fletcher said.