Motorists can expect delays as Government embarks on major road repairs, Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid has announced.
He said along with the current construction of a turning lane at the corner of Forde’s Road and Upper Rendezvous Road, road works are also planned for the main coastal Highways 1 and 7 and traffic improvements on the Ronald Mapp Highway (Highway 2A).
As he briefed journalists Monday morning on the construction of the turning lane, Dr Duguid said it would help to reduce some of the traffic congestion at the Sir Garfield Sobers Roundabout. He did not give a timeline for its completion he said it would be finished “as soon as possible”.
Dr Duguid said: “Essentially what we are trying to do is to widen the road here in such a way as to make what is known as a turning lane. What that turning lane will do is it will give people the opportunity at any time of the day to be able to make the right turn onto Forde’s Road because we recognize that the Garfield Sobers Roundabout has caused significant congestion, especially in the morning time for many people from Christ Church East Central, St Philip and all of the other Christ Church constituencies.
“We recognize that we had to do something and it is also part of our Juncture Improve programme. You would see that we are also doing juncture improvement at Westmoreland as well and this is what we are trying to do to make junctions better and to ease traffic, but more importantly to improve safety for the travelling public of Barbados.
“What it means is that people coming from the Graeme Hall area will be able to pick up a left turn lane and that lane will take them all the way up to the roundabout without actually joining the circulation of the roundabout and being able to come back down the other side to be able to go down Rendezvous Hill. Those that want to turn right onto Forde’s Road would not obstruct those going straight down onto Rendezvous Hill. That’s the whole point of it, to make the traffic go better and to take people off of the roundabout so as to ease the whole traffic congestion problem we are having.”
Dr Duguid revealed that road works are also scheduled for Highway 1, Highway 7 along with the Ronald Mapp Highway (Highway 2A).
He said he was hoping to start work on Highway 1 within the next four to five weeks.
The Minister said work would include changing water mains and improving the infrastructure for natural gas and electricity.
The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) pipes on Highway 1 were in dire need of replacement, he said.
Dr Duguid told reporters: “Current piping from the BWA on Highway 1 is very old and causes lots of leaks. The worst thing that can happen is that we fix the road and then within weeks the BWA is back digging it up again to fix a leak. So we made a decision to do all of the utility infrastructure one time and then fix the road so it will last as long as possible.
“We are about to commence work on Highway 1 shortly. It will mean some disruption of the road. Essentially that will be a much bigger project than this. What it is is that we have to change out all of the water mains on Highway 1 and that will mean water mains on both sides of the road. So we will be digging a trench on Highway 1 from the bottom of University Hill to Holder’s Hill and then the second section will be Holder’s Hill to Holetown.”
With these roadworks set to be carried out simultaneously, the transport and infrastructure Minister predicted significant traffic disruption ahead. He said this was the best time to do it as traffic was significantly reduced.
But he gave an assurance that his ministry would do as much traffic mitigation as possible to minimize the works’ impact on motorists.
Co-Minister Peter Phillips declared Government was not simply “talking the talk but also walking the walk” on infrastructural improvements.
He revealed that with the hurricane season having started, work had been done to clear watercourses across the island.
Phillips said work had been done at Salt Pond, Speightstown, Wotton and Murphy’s Pasture.
Adrian Forde, Christ Church East Central MP who was on hand at the briefing on the Forde’s Road-Rendezvous Road roadworks in his constituency said the traffic congestion had been a problem for more than a decade as he praised the transport ministry for the roadworks. [email protected]
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