Errant drivers face ‘pole tax’
THE DAYS OF MOTORISTS getting off scot-free after damaging or knocking down street lights may soon be over.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn gave notice yesterday after it was discovered that numerous poles along the ABC Highway, from the Garfield Sobers Roundabout to Grantley Adams International Airport, were either down or had faulty lights because of road accidents.
Speaking at the busy Kingsland, Christ Church junction, he said a system would be set up to make motorists and their insurance companies pull their pockets for the damage.
“We will put a mechanism in place to make sure that as incidents like these happen in the reporting process, and the resolution of the claims process with respect to damage, that the Government will be able to recover the cost of replacing these poles, so that it is not left to the taxpayer given the circumstances that we are in,” Straughn said.
He was speaking as officials of Government’s Electrical Engineering Department and the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance installed new LED (light-emitting diode) lights along the highway as part of a multimillion-dollar project.
Straughn, who is also the Member of Parliament for Christ Church East Central, said the replacements were being done after complaints from residents and motorists that the intersection was dark and dangerous.
“I think this represents real relief for the residents because there has been a lot of near-misses at this intersection. So this is not just a matter of putting up lights, but this is what taxpayers want to see,” he added.
Last August, and again last month, the WEEKEND NATION highlighted the dark stretches along the ABC Highway and Ronald Mapp Highway. Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid said the darker areas from Balls to Coverley, Christ Church, would be lit after Government signed a smart energy agreement with Caribbean LED Lighting to provide 28 000 LED bulbs to replace the high-pressure sodium bulbs.
Duguid, who was present yesterday, said 55 lamps on the stretch were not burning, in addition to the damaged poles.
The project includes the repositioning of bases, fixing the poles and acquiring 200 LED bulbs, which cost $96 000.
Meanwhile, Chief Electrical Officer Tyrone White said that within three weeks, there would be major improvements in the lighting from University Hill, St Michael, to the airport.
To date, 12 poles have been repositioned; 40 more are to be replaced. ( TG)
WORKMEN ON THE JOB yesterday after erecting
a new pole with LED light bulbs. (Picture by Sandy Pitt.)