Monday, April 22, 2024

EDITORIAL: Let there be light on the highways

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A RECENT WEEKEND NATION probe brought to light the dangers of the darkness cast across some highways due to lack of proper illumination. It was estimated in that report that 50 unlit light bulbs and more than two dozen poles were missing along the Spring Garden Highway and the ABC Highway.

Add to that the mostly unlit stretch of the Ronald Mapp Highway – 16 kilometres to be exact – from Simpson Motors in Warrens, St Michael, to Mile-And-A-Quarter in St Peter.

The questions we ask are: Why has this, the current state of our heavily-trafficked highways, continued to exist for so long? Who is addressing it? When will there be properly lit highways again in Barbados? Who will be giving the directive that the bulbs and the poles be bought and installed post-haste to ensure the safety of road users – motorists and pedestrians?

The ball is now in the Government’s court to shed some light and fix this issue immediately, given the potential dangers.

The probe by this newspaper also estimated that it would cost close to $500 000 on materials to replace the poles as well as the fixtures along the highways. When lives are at stake, no amount of money can be too much to spend to safeguard the welfare and safety of citizens. There is also no action that can be too big to undertake to protect them from undue harm.

The relighting of the highway must be done as a matter of urgency, especially in the wake of the number of accidents recently, including those that claimed lives. Government must find the money; and the frivolous reasons given for the inadequate lighting cannot be tolerated.

A source at the Government Electrical Engineering Department (GEED) indicated in the report that in addition to the high cost of replacing the equipment and the bulbs, there were issues with a truck.

Inexcusable. We need to realise the real potential dangers and threats to long stretches of highways where the lighting is so poor that visibility is impacted. It truly is reprehensible that this darkness would have continued for so long with no seemingly quick action to remedy the situation.

We call on those who are responsible for the lighting on the highways, those controlling the coffers to pay for the various parts needed, and those charged with the responsibility for giving the green light to fix this problem, to act swiftly. Let us move swiftly to ensure that the lights shine brightly on our highways.

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