Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Shaw warns motorists against using unopened sections of SCHIP

Published:Saturday | April 29, 2023 | 1:16 AMSashana Small/Staff Reporter
Stephen Shaw, communications manager, National Works Agency.
Stephen Shaw, communications manager, National Works Agency.

Stephen Shaw, communications manager at the National Works Agency, is urging motorists to desist from driving on the unopened section of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP).

His plea follows a deadly crash in Albion, St Thomas, on Tuesday, in which three people were killed and nine others injured. The deceased are 41-year-old taxi operator Morice Hinds from Oxford Road in Lyssons, St Thomas; a 29-year-old security guard, Tamoy Delisserof Heartease in the parish; and 61-year-old Errol Taylor, an accountant of Pembroke Hall in St Andrew.

Police reports indicate that the two vehicles involved in the accident were using a section of the St Thomas leg of the SCHIP, which is not yet open to the public.

According to Shaw, this practice is not uncommon.

“We have observed not only on this project, but on other projects, persons go and physically remove barriers. I’ve seen situations where persons use heavy equipment to lift concrete barrier from the road because they want to use it and they don’t want to wait,” he told The Gleaner.

“It so happens that the case of the accident that transpired earlier this week, that road was properly blocked but people went and illegally removed those barriers,” he added.

“Signs were there, physical barriers were placed there and they went and did what they did.”

He said the contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), has responsibility for the corridor and has been putting in measures to deter motorists from using the the unopened sections of the highway.

“Signs are placed at locations, physical barriers are placed, sometimes impediments are placed… at the signs and barriers, you may find stones and barriers, a combination of this is generally used to advise persons that sections of the corridor are not open,” he said.

At times, Shaw said the police are also engaged to discourage motorists, but their reach is limited.

“When you are talking about an active area that stretches… in this case that section of road it has 17 or 15 kilometres, you’d have to put a police every half a kilometre, that’s not possible.”

Stating that the contractor is doing what it can to prevent incidents such as thse from occurring, Shaw blasted the unrestrained motorists.

“It is more the indiscipline and the disrespect that is meted out on a daily basis to our agents who work on behalf of all of us trying to fix an infrastructure that has been in a serious state of disrepair,” he stated.