Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Back to the road jams


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BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIME is just around the corner, and with it will come the usual hustle and bustle on our roadways.
And there are some roadworks that might add to the already hectic traffic situation.
The WEEKEND NATION team made recent visits to four different roadwork sites; and from the looks of it, people travelling to and from the north of the island will have the greater challenge.
That’s because work is still being carried out on the $3.2 million roundabout at the Orange Hill/Lancaster junction on the Ronald Mapp Highway and the Lime Grove project on Highway 1, both in the parish of St James.
Contractors such as C.O. Williams Construction and Black Bess Quarry are currently undertaking roadwork projects which, when completed, will increase traffic flow. However, it is unlikely those projects will be completed before school begins next week.
On Wednesday morning at the Orange Hill/Lancaster junction, workmen from C.O. Williams were preparing the road for asphalt and the placement of lighting, work which is scheduled to take about another two weeks.
There was a constant flow of traffic through the roundabout, which indicated how busy that stretch of road is.
Communications consultant Mike Williams said this work would not impede day flow “whatsoever” as it would mostly be done at night “in a manner to cause the least amount of inconvenience to traffic”.
As a result of this work, the Orange Hill exit will be closed at night for the remainder of the week.
In Holetown, where C.O. Williams Construction has been subcontracted to work at Lime Grove, the road has been narrowed as utility lines are being placed.
Supervisor Chris King said once decisions had been made on the placement of the utility lines, the existing poles would be removed and the road would be returned to normal.
Williams said a sidewalk would also be put into place there but could not give a timeline for the work.
He said the company had restarted rehabilitation work on Highway 5, which was being done in sections. This will cause diversions through Evelyn Road and Six Cross Roads. Williams could not give a completion date.
Another ongoing roadwork project is at the junction of Boarded Hall, which is being done by Black Bess. When the WEEKEND NATION team passed through around 7:45 a.m, the road widening had been completed and construction equipment was idle.
Yesterday, Wayne Manning, chief executive officer of Black Bess Quarry Ltd, described the work at Boarded Hall as “a nightmare”. Workmen are currently making the junction level as well as building a roundabout to the Frere Pilgrim side.
“Boarded Hall is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year but we are slightly behind because it is not a simple junction. We have four utility companies which have to be accommodated. The next thing now is making sure the water main is put into place, which is extensive work. We can’t do anything until the new main is placed and the old one removed.
“It is a bit of a nightmare at the moment,” he said, adding that there was still ongoing work with telephone and electricity lines to be repositioned.
As for traffic, Manning said one of the company’s main concerns was keeping it flowing for as long as possible, but he added that traffic would have to be rerouted once the outside roads leading to the junction were complete. However, he said he did not see this as a problem, once the public understood.
“The real thing is for the public to understand once the road is closed. I don’t think it will be a major thing because there is The Turnpike and Edey Village, so if people are aware the road is closed, then they can take another one,” he said. (CA)


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