Road safety advocate Sharmane Roland-Bowen is taking a swipe at Government for spending millions of dollars on an underutilized pedestrian overpass in The Pine, St Michael four years ago while neglecting the deteriorating road conditions over the years.
Complaining that the potholes across the island had been ignored for much too long, Roland-Bowen said the overpass was “such a waste of money” that should have instead been spent on more pressing road problems.
“We put all that money in that one up Pine Road, some of that money could have been invested in making the road safer and doing other things where road safety is concerned – signage, markings, road conditions. It could have been utilized that way but it wasn’t and that is millions of dollars. Small remedial measures can really assist, we don’t have to go that route [of overpass],” the president of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) said.
The $2.4 million footbridge near the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation was erected in late 2012.
In the 2016-17 Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue laid in the House of Assembly in March last year, the Ministry of Transport and Works was allocated $142.452 million,
up from $123.793 million, with a further $68.426 million proposed for road network services.
Late last year Government embarked on a $2 million mill and pave road repair programme, including patching the numerous potholes.
However, that programme appeared to have been inadequate as complaints mounted about the state of the country’s roads, even as Minister of Transport & Works Michael Lashley announced this week the resumption of the patchwork beginning next week.
Nonetheless, the BRSA is intensifying pressure on the Freundel Stuart administration to fix the potholes, and Roland-Bowen said she was dissatisfied with the quality of work done so far.
“We need better roads and better patching methods than what are currently being used or what they want to throw at us. Where is the taxpayers’ money going? People want to know they are paying taxes – road tax and paying court fines, where is all this money going? It is going into one consolidated fund to spend in other areas. Put back some in road safety and make our roads safer.
“As I see it the authorities are neglecting their duties, their duty of care that they have a responsibility to road users to provide and keep the road in good maintenance at a reasonable manner and they are not doing that. So they are failing, they are neglecting their duties,” Roland-Bowen charged.