Grave dan­ger at the turn-off to At­lantic Gar­dens

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Dear Edi­tor, Ev­ery day, road users on the East Coast high­way are ex­posed to grave dan­ger at the turn-off to At­lantic Gar­dens at ex­actly the same spot where there was a ma­jor traf­fic cri­sis on Mother’s Day 2018, which I wrote about in a let­ter to the me­dia in May.

Even­tu­ally, the Min­istry of Pub­lic In­fra­struc­ture of­fered an apol­ogy pub­lished in the var­i­ous news­pa­pers.

Res­i­dents of At­lantic Gar­dens risk in­jury or even death daily, plus the pos­si­bil­ity of se­ri­ous dam­age to their ve­hi­cles, be­cause they are forced to cross a per­ilous bridge that was bro­ken up as part of road­works in that area be­ing done by Chi­nese con­trac­tors and Guyanese en­gi­neers.

Huge trucks and trac­tor trail­ers tra­verse this nar­row, frag­ile bridge daily and there is also heavy traf­fic of other ve­hi­cles be­cause it is the only thor­ough­fare giv­ing ac­cess to a ma­jor res­i­den­tial com­mu­nity.

Ev­ery one of th­ese ve­hi­cles and their oc­cu­pants is tak­ing an enor­mous risk. The in­clement weather is de­stroy­ing this loam bridge.

Vis­i­tors who might not know the area, not know­ing the per­ilous state of the loam bridge and trav­el­ling at a mod­er­ate speed could end up hurt­ing them­selves or dam­ag­ing their ve­hi­cles.

Find­ing a safe way to cross this

par­tially dis­man­tled bridge is not for the faint of heart. Sand has been dumped there, but the sea­sonal heavy rain­fall has added mud and de­bris, trans­form­ing it into treach­er­ous, slip­pery slush that has sev­eral flooded pot­holes in it. Some parts of this loam bridge are also break­ing away as the wa­ter tries to find its way into the gut­ter.

As such, the risk in­creases at night in this poorly-lit area. Cross­ing the slip­pery wet sand, mud and de­bris in the dark is a recipe for disas­ter. Ve­hi­cles could eas­ily top­ple when they en­counter pot­holes hid­den by flood­wa­ter. God knows what the fate of their oc­cu­pants would be.

The blame for this lies squarely at the feet of the Chi­nese con­trac­tors and Guyanese en­gi­neers in charge of the road­works. They just go mer­rily about their busi­ness as if they have ab­so­lutely no in­ter­est in max­i­miz­ing com­muters’ safety and min­i­miz­ing their in­con­ve­nience.

I men­tioned some of th­ese is­sues in my pre­vi­ous let­ter about the Mother’s Day traf­fic cri­sis. Af­ter the let­ter was pub­lished, the min­istry re­spon­si­ble apol­o­gized. This apol­ogy was ap­pre­ci­ated, but the suf­fer­ing com­muters want real so­lu­tions, not cos­met­ics. Since the apol­ogy, what have the project over­seers done to re­solve the cri­sis? From what I can see, noth­ing at all. But wait! I think they dumped some more sand there for the rain to turn into slush.

Do not for one minute think I am be­ing hard on them. I am see­ing death there. The two sides of this ‘jokey’ ridicu­lous bridge are tremen­dously un­sta­ble. This can kill or se­ri­ously hurt peo­ple. Se­condly, the bridge is break­ing apart and I am see­ing a great tragedy un­fold­ing.

Why aren’t the Guyanese en­gi­neers over­look­ing this project en­sur­ing that the work is prop­erly done? Don’t the Chi­nese con­trac­tors know bet­ter? They have been around for a while and should know our cul­ture.

I would not like to think that they only want to make money do­ing big busi­ness and have no con­sid­er­a­tion for the wel­fare of the Guyanese peo­ple.

This leads me to ask: Who is en­sur­ing that th­ese con­trac­tors and en­gi­neers are do­ing their jobs prop­erly with the in­ter­est of the Guyanese peo­ple at heart? Will it take death, se­vere in­juries or huge law­suits to teach them to en­sure the man­agers of the road­works are do­ing the work prop­erly?

To prove that I am not talk­ing off the top of my head, I am en­clos­ing pho­tographs as clear visual ev­i­dence of the dan­ger at the site right now. I trust that the re­spon­si­ble news­pa­pers of this coun­try will pub­lish the pictures to keep the pub­lic in­formed and press those in author­ity and with a di­rect man­date to carry out th­ese road works to solve the prob­lem.

I also urge the min­istry’s Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer who is­sued the apol­ogy for the Mother’s Day cri­sis to come to the spot and wit­ness first-hand the grav­ity of the si­t­u­a­tion. Then, hope­fully, the min­istry and project over­seers will change their flow­ery words into ef­fec­tive ac­tion. Yours faith­fully, Roshan Khan Snr.

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