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IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: A poor reflection


ROY R. MORRIS, [email protected]

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: A poor reflection

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I’M BACK AFTER a much needed rest and have a lot to talk about.

I was going to devote all my space today to the issue of gun violence and my feeling on how we are dealing – or not dealing – with it, but I decided to put it off until next week so I can look closely at comments made over the past couple of years by certain people.

In the meanwhile, though, I want to present a few observations on some other topics.

Here’s the first one: Throughout the month of August I did more driving in Florida than I have done in several previous vacations combined, and I made it my business to make notes on a number of matters so I could do comparisons with my homeland.

I have been one of the biggest critics of the Ministry of Transport and Works and the Government Electrical Engineering Department for their failure to properly upkeep the ABC Highway in the interest of user safety.

I’m sure many readers would recall that this newspaper has highlighted that more than 250 street lights were missing or not working along the highway, and there were stretches that were completely dark for hundreds of metres, especially between the Garfield Sobers Roundabout in Wildey and the Grantley Adams International Airport.

The result is that you cannot see the shoulders, the lines separating lanes; you often can’t tell how close you are to the Jersey barriers because they look just like the road surface at night, and signage is difficult to read.

Well, I left here determined to record just how different the highway authorities in Florida operate. If you have never observed it, all across Florida, including the supposedly infamous Interstate 95, there is not a single street light for many miles – not because bulbs are not working or poles have been knocked down. There are simply no lights erected.

But here’s the difference: I did not come across a single metre of roadway that did not have freshly painted, highly reflective white and/or yellow paint, supported by surface reflectors that illuminate the road for as far as your headlamps will reach. In other words, in total darkness except for headlamps you can still make out every lane ahead even when the carriageway is as wide as six or eight lanes.

And the level of efficiency with which they undertake roadworks is remarkable. They dig up the road, put down new asphalt and repaint the lines all in one go so you never have to guess where your lane is.

Not so here in good old Bim. We tear up the road surface and take weeks to fill in the hole, then months to resurface it with asphalt. Replacing the painted lines can take even more months, or years.

As I have said in previous columns, building roads may be a science, but it can’t be beyond us to repair and upkeep what we have. So why are we now doing such a poor job of it? Why does the paint we use disappear so quickly? Why is it that almost every cat’s eye (reflector) installed along the ABC Highway has disappeared? Did our officials stick them to the road using UHU glue?

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