Fri | Sep 22, 2023

Motorists urged to be cautious when traversing areas under construction

Published:Tuesday | May 30, 2023 | 3:51 PM
Cones mark the separation of lanes on a section of the Pamphret main road in St Thomas, which is under construction as part of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project. - Contributed photo.

As the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) and other major road works across the island progress, members of the public are being urged to be especially cautious while traversing through the areas under construction.

The SCHIP is being executed in sections of St Thomas and Portland, and from May Pen to Williamsfield.

This is being done by contractors, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

Other major road projects include the Montego Bay Perimeter Road, which is being implemented by the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC).

“Once we take a decision to rehabilitate a road, there are always safety issues that will arise,” says National Works Agency (NWA) Communication and Customer Services Manager, Stephen Shaw.

He explains that the issue is more pronounced where work is being done on roads that are in active use, “because if you're working on what we refer to as virgin land, creating a new road, the safety issues are a bit different than those that we'll have when we are working on a road that is active and in use.”

Shaw says the use of flag persons and the posting of warning signs are key to guiding motorists to safe road use along these corridors.

However, some members of the public have been removing these signs for other purposes and are retarding the efforts to keep the roads safe.

“I've seen signs being used as domino tables, for example. I've seen signs being used in the roasting of fish. We have a myriad of issues and, of course, persons will complain from time to time, legitimately, that there aren't enough signs in some locations,” Shaw adds.

He points out that where such an issue is flagged, the NWA will move quickly to have it addressed to give persons “every opportunity to be safer while traversing our corridors.”

In addition, since projects like the SCHIP are active and ongoing, it must be acknowledged that there will be some amount of dislocation, even at varying times within a day.

“If, for example, an embankment is being created… you would have gone along a particular road driving on a lower section in the morning. But throughout the day, much work would have been done that necessitates the change in the movement of the vehicular traffic,” Shaw notes.

“And so, you will find persons saying, 'I had gone through this area this morning or a few hours ago, driving in this direction, and I'm coming back now expecting that to be the same, and I'm going in another direction',” he adds.

The NWA manager advises that once persons are using a road that is under construction, they should expect changes at a moment's notice as, “depending on how things are unfolding, the persons on the ground have to modify the operations accordingly.”

- JIS News

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