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DANGER ZONE: End of the road

by Tony Yarde

DANGER ZONE: End of the road

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The journey gained momentum through the many comments, emails and phone calls which all came from you – the readers. After 20 reports by of the WEEKEND NATION team’s observations on the road, our Danger Zone  traffic column is ending –for now.From the first column on Orange Hill, St James, feedback has been remarkable. Our route was mapped out, but as you prompted from time to time, we opted to change course and ventured where you urged us to go.By travelling through all eleven parishes in the island, we have managed to cover many road traffic issues throughout this time. The Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW), too, has done its part to address some of the concerns highlighted. Shortly after the junction at Orange Hill/Lancaster, St James, was featured, the construction of a $3.2 million roundabout began there. Residents in the area have called usto express their gratitude. Reports have also indicated that Government will be spending $50 million on an overhaul of the traffic flow in Warrens, St Michael.In other areas, such as St David’s Village and Hart’s Gap, Christ Church, road markings were repainted days after columns on those localities were published. Road signage has improved and more attention has been paid to road safety.Pedestrians using the Spring Garden Highway still have not heard anything  reassuring. They are still left at the mercy of motorists. The concern about the proximity of the many pedestrian crossings to the neck of roundabouts still remains – with no solution provided. Fourteen passengers on a Transport Board bus were involved in a mass casualty accident at the intersection of Charles Rowe Bridge and Salters, St George, a month after the article on that junction was published. We hope officials would visit the area and address the danger there.   Cellphone useMeanwhile, a reliable source at MTW has informed us that the cut-rock at Ashton, St Peter, will be widened as soon as The Whim Gully road is altered to accommodate that volume of traffic. Plans are afoot to divert traffic through The Whim Gully while the Ashton cut-rock area is being widened.It is up to road users to carefully manoeuvre around areas where thereare blind spots, lonely gullies and steep hilly areas. Unfortunately, despite many appeals to drivers to desist from using cellphones when driving, we encountered it everywhere as many people still continue to engage in this dangerous practice.The folks in Bridgefield and Reeves Hill, St Thomas, still want to know what will be done for them.With the hurricane season upon us, we pray for more vigilance on our roads – whether in wet or dry conditions.It is highly unlikely that the number of cars on our roads will decrease any time soon, so brace yourself for the increased congestion. Be always mindful that the slightest of bad moves could mean the loss of your life or that of another person. The contract between road users and the ministry must be honoured by both parties. While the ministry must ensure that our roads are safe to travel, we, too, as motorists and pedestrians, must exercise due care.Don’t let your guard down and think for a moment that because this column is “taking a break” that our camera lenses will be shelved. We will still be on the lookout. Stick to the road traffic laws while travelling, and continue to do your part to keep our island’s road fatality rate down or even non-existent.I also wish to thank Junior Jordan, Sharmaine Roland-Bowen, Leon Blades and many other road safety activists for their invaluable contributions.Godspeed to all Danger Zone readers!