Traffic ease soon
THE gridlock that has created chaos in Bridgetown is almost certain to end in two weeks with the partially eroded Wharf Road, a major artery for traffic in and around the capital, set to reopen by Independence Day.
That would bring smiles to the faces of hundreds of frustrated motorists, who have had to endure enormous traffic congestion since the road was closed nearly two weeks ago.
At a Press briefing yesterday on the site, Minister of Transport and Works John Boyce said motorists would be able to travel in one lane along Wharf Road, which was closed nearly two weeks ago.
“We are going to start immediately on the culvert repair to allow the single access. It will be dealt with in the normal funding of the ministry and if there is a special provision to be made, then a supplementary will be sought so we can get ahead with it,” Boyce said.
This is a short-term measure and the technocrats of MTW, spearheaded by Chief Technical Officer Nash Lovell, acknowledged that much work had to be done.
“When we opened Culvert 5, we found slabs that were fully sheared at the interface between the steel and the concrete, so it was just a matter of time before we had a failure from traffic going over it.
“Unfortunately, the same thing appears to have happened in Culvert 4 – hence the reason for inspection of Culvert 3.
So we are going to have a further investigation of Culvert 3, which is by Shepherd Street where the traffic is turning.
“There are two other culverts towards the bridge, but at present we will limit our investigation to just west of Shepherd Street so as not to impact further on traffic. If we do find the same damage there, we will obviously have to continue the investigation further,” Lovell said.
There has been over 100 feet of washout and, according to Lovell, there must be immediate action to remedy the situation.
“With all things equal, we may be able to put traffic on one lane by Independence Day but the longer-term solution will take a bit more time than that,” Lovell said.
Boyce thanked the public for its cooperation in adjusting to the traffic changes that had to be put in place.
“With safety in mind, we don’t want to have traffic in an area that has the potential for collapsing. That would not be responsible,” he said.
“It is not good for the impression to be given that Bridgetown will in any way be closed. I want to make it clear that at this time Bridgetown is open for business and we can just arrange our routing different, maybe enjoy a slighter longer stroll than we normally would because of where to choose to park.
“It may be an opportunity for the Transport Board to get into the act by maybe providing some additional park and ride in conjunction with the business people so that in the evening we can switch to a park and ride mode early so that persons can park in the traditional locations and come into town on public transport,” he said.
Boyce said he had queries from several interest groups such as taxi operators over the route they were being forced to use because of the traffic diversion resulting in Broad Street becoming a two-lane roadway.
He said the ministry had met with the police and rolled out a modification to the existing plan which would allow traffic to get onto Lower Broad Street more quickly.
The minister said he would not speak to the details of the plan until he was given the all-clear by his technical team but mentioned that city streets such as Magazine Lane, Spry Street and Marhill Street were being looked at as options.