Res­i­dents say no to big­ger High­way 2A

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Focus -

Res­i­dents of the north are strongly op­pos­ing a pro­posal by the Min­istry of Trans­port, Works and Main­te­nance (MTWM) to widen the sec­tion of the Ron­ald Mapp High­way, for­merly High­way 2A, from the D’arcy Scott Round­about in War­rens, St Michael, to Mile-anda-quar­ter, St Peter.

The MTWM is part­ner­ing with Cana­dian con­sul­tants from the IBI Group and lo­cal firm DLN Con­sul­tants Inc.

At a re­cent town hall meet­ing at St Thomas Par­ish Church, res­i­dents said they were sat­is­fied with the high­way, but there was room for im­prove­ments, and main­te­nance was a crit­i­cal is­sue.

The plan is still in the pre­lim­i­nary stages and seeks to widen sec­tions of the for­mer High­way 2A. The pro­posal is for a three-lane cross-sec­tion with two south-bound lanes, one north­bound lane and full-sized, multi-lane round­abouts to ac­com­mo­date all truck move­ments.

It also in­cludes sin­gle-lane round­abouts, smaller multi-lane round­abouts at in­ter­me­di­ate lo­ca­tions to pro­vide ad­di­tional turn­around op­por­tu­ni­ties for cars, and junc­tion up­grades through the ad­di­tion of right-turn lanes.

Re­lo­ca­tion chal­lenges

Faith Richards did not wel­come the pro­posal, stat­ing it would al­most be im­pos­si­ble to ac­quire land. She said res­i­dents ex­pe­ri­enced com­pen­sa­tion and re­lo­ca­tion chal­lenges when the high­way was built, and feared his­tory would re­peat it­self.

Con­struc­tion busi­ness­man Roger Man­ning, who lives in West­more­land, St James, said the up­grade would be a waste. While it would ease traf­fic flows in the north, he said, mo­torists would still en­counter bumper-to-bumper traf­fic in Welches and War­rens.

Al­bert Phillips said the high­way was in dire need of im­prove­ments, rather than an up­grade. He ex­plained that if the gul­lies along the stretch of road were main­tained, drainage would not be a prob­lem.

Sec­tions along the high­way com­prise agri­cul­tural belts and Roseanne Richards said ask­ing res­i­dents to move could af­fect their liveli­hood.

Shel­don Archer wanted the needs of work­ers at Port­vale Su­gar Fac­tory to be con­sid­ered in the plan. He said there were no shel­ters to ac­com­mo­date work­ers who re­lied on poor bus ser­vice, and it was not safe for them to wait on trans­porta­tion along the high­way at night be­cause there was no light­ing.

Archer also called for street­lights to be placed at the en­trance of the Blow­ers, St James fac­tory to ease traf­fic flows for the heavy-duty ve­hi­cles en­ter­ing and ex­it­ing dur­ing crop time.

Like Phillips, Karen Jor­dan said the high­way could be im­proved and it was a waste of re­sources to con­struct a new one. She said road-patch­ing could be done, bound­ary lines should be re­painted and more light­ing was a must.

The junc­tion at West­more­land, St James was iden­ti­fied as an area which also should be ad­dressed.

MTWM project man­ager Dave Scantle­bury said sev­eral stud­ies were un­der­way, in­clud­ing an eval­u­a­tion of cur­rent and fu­ture traf­fic trends, and an as­sess­ment of storm wa­ter man­age­ment.

He said an­other pub­lic meet­ing would be held by year-end to fur­ther dis­cuss de­sign plans.

Shel­don Archer made a case for the fac­tory work­ers at Port­vale.

(Pic­tures by Len­nox Devon­ish.)

Faith Richards said she feared the re­lo­ca­tion of res­i­dents would not be done prop­erly.

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