East Coast highway closure
-bus, taxi operat
It took three hours for some commuters to travel from La Bonne Intention (LBI) to Plaisance yesterday afternoon following the closure of the East Coast Highway to facilitate the construction of culverts and bridges as part of the road widening and upgrade project.
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has said the road, which was closed at 8 am yesterday, will not reopen until 11 pm today.
In light of the resulting congestion caused by the diversion of traffic along the railway embankment, minibus operators either stopped travelling to the city or made the trip at the inflated price of $500. In some cases, taxi drivers moved their fare from $2,000 to $4,000, citing the impact on their gas consumption due to the long wait.
Despite the fact that the China Railway Group Company has been contracted to improve the traffic management along the East Coast road through a series of upgrades, even before yesterday’s debacle, drivers and residents that frequently use the road have had cause to call for better management practices from the project managers to ease the congestion experienced during the peak hours.
Residents and drivers have created a furore on Facebook, expressing their concerns about the way traffic is being managed along the highway.
According to one driver, Amanda Tiwari, the management of the project has many issues which make it difficult for traffic to flow properly.
“The current state of the East Coast road is an indictment to road users and clearly illustrates that no consideration is given to the lengthy delays experienced by road users daily. More importantly, this project is a major safety risk and will sooner or later result in fatalities,” she said.
Tiwari explained that in some sections, during the nights, visibility is extremely poor and drivers can hardly identify the signs to show where the diversions start and end. She also pointed out that the signs that are placed are not reflective and that gaining access to premises for some is difficult as “an entire community (Annandale) was cut off because of poorly planned construction and total disregard for emergencies”.
She pointed out that even though the railway embankment is left open to facilitate the brunt of the traffic, she noted that during peak time, the traffic is “bumper to bumper” and moves at a snail’s pace.
“I will say this, as a professional in the technical field, the way this project is unfolding is a national disgrace and only highlights our inability to resolve simple issues by not demanding better from contractors… The functionality of the road is important to ensure that people get to school
A seemingly endless line of traffic bracketed the Railway Embankment all day yesterday after th closed to facilitate culvert and road works. (Photo by Terrence Thompson)