AWRIGHT DEN: On the road
There is no doubt that in comparison to our neighbours, Barbados has done a good job in the area of roadworks. Although this may be so, there is need for improvement in some areas and a greater sense of urgency in addressing the issues that seem to be constantly ignored.
Let’s begin: Although it is in breach of our road laws, the selling of coconuts on the sides of our highways seems to be good business. With some making $2 000-plus on a Sunday alone, standing in the hot sun for hours, cutting coconuts, sometimes being soaked by the rain and breathing in harmful exhaust fumes that may be too much for many to bear, but to some it is all worth it.
Last week, I was very annoyed when I saw hundreds of empty coconut shells piled up on the side of the highway next to the Sol Warrens service station. This is totally unacceptable and is being repeated in other areas around the country. These empty shells not only pose a danger to motorists and pedestrians but to all Barbadians, since this is the hurricane season and these shells are prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.
I do not know if it is the Ministry of Health or Transport and Works that would be responsible for this problem, but it is an issue that needs addressing with great urgency.
Secondly, whenever or wherever there is road development, there will always be discomfort to commuters and residents. My concern comes when inadequate measures are put in place under the guise of safety and precaution for commuters.
Is there some act or authority or regulation that governs the proceedings for road development or maintenance? How is it that it is a standard custom to dig a deep hole in the road and put two empty cans and caution tape around them as barricades? Can that be considered an acceptable precaution?
I can’t understand how driving through the Redman’s Village road construction area in St Thomas, there are no proper barriers or adequate reflection instruments blocking or highlighting the steel rods sticking out of the ground which can easily damage a car, its tyres or rims.
The lack of lighting between the roundabout by Automotive Art and the gas station is ridiculous and to add insult to injury, the cones in the road either have no reflector tape or are in need of a good scrubbing. I also want to ask Government agencies not to dig up the road and leave it uncovered or unprotected for weeks if they don’t have the parts to fix the problem.
Finally, the bridge, which is southerly to the junction that takes you to Royal Westmoreland or St Silas Heights on the Ronald Mapp Highway (Highway 2A), floods as soon as there is consistent rainfall. A few hundred metres in a northerly direction along the same highway stretch, by “Sobers’ Shop”, floods easily as well.
This flooding causes a heavy backup of traffic in both directions as well as great discomfort and danger to pedestrians who have to manoeuvre between the floodwater, vehicles, displaced stones and potholes. After speaking to some of the residents in the area, it was frustrating to learn that this situation has been so for many, many years.
Last week, I observed an ambulance struggling to get through the traffic and floodwaters – this is unacceptable. Each year these same areas flood and each year, nothing is done about it. You mean to tell me in ten, 15, 20 years, not one minister responsible for roadworks or drainage has done anything to remedy this problem?
School begins in about two to three weeks and many children between the ages of three and 11 from the areas surrounding St Boniface Nursery and Gordon Greenidge Primary will walk to these institutions and will have to pass this area morning and evening. I hope it would not take one of our little ones being injured for those in authority to do something.
I am not interested in hearing promises; I want this flood-prone area fixed. Next step would be to speak to the constituency representative and then ask affected residents to sign a letter to be taken to the minister responsible to address this ongoing problem.
• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador.