EDITORIAL: Condition of roads not good for country
One of the biggest issues for motorists in Barbados today is how to navigate its roads, whether urban or rural. The complaint is virtually the same: too many of the island’s primary and secondary roads are in a deplorable condition.
The heavy rains over the past week will only make this bad situation worse, particularly for some residents in parts of the Scotland District. The bush which already encroaches on many roadways islandwide will now become a major problem for both pedestrians and motorists, especially on those dimly lit roadways.
The length of time it has taken to complete some road projects adds to the problem. This is evident, whether it is the Warrens Highway Improvement Project; that at Checker Hall, St Lucy; the Sayes Court, Christ Church road upgrade, or those being undertaken respectively in St Philip and St George. The situation is the same wherever you go: the roadworks seem to be taking forever.
Government’s inability to pay the contractors in a timely manner has certainly impacted the speed with which the projects are completed. The longer these projects are drawn out, the greater the inconvenience to commuters and householders.
It is generally accepted that the road contractors undertaking these civil works are not the ones to take all the blame, even though they will be the ones undoubtedly to get a lot of the criticisms. An upset public, disgruntled motorists, frustrated pedestrians and in some cases inconvenienced householders often do not stop to consider who is at fault.
This is a far cry from what Barbados’ road network was a decade ago when it was expanding to meet an ever-rising need. This country has a substantial number of vehicles on its roads, both heavy duty and the utility passenger type, and given the poor public transport system, the desire by individuals to own their own vehicles will only increase. This will mean continued heavy demand on our roads, some of which were not built to withstand the heavy use being made of them.
But the public, already paying a variety of national impositions, including road taxes, does not want to hear any lame excuses for why the roads are the way they are, full of potholes and a hazard to drive on, especially following a downpour. This is not a situation which brings comfort to any motorist.
Given the difficult financial situation the country faces, this may be the ideal time for a national discussion on the best types of roads to carry us into the future – whether to continue with asphalt or move to concrete.
In the meantime, Government must of necessity be more effective with its road building and maintenance projects. The citizens are simply demanding and expecting better to be done. A healthy road network is critical to the country’s economic well-being.