Questions persist over the nature of the expansion works underway on Carifesta Avenue and drivers are complaining about the lack of road signs in the night to safely demarcate ongoing construction.
The road is currently undergoing upgrading that will see a median along with street lights and widening at both sides to accommodate four lanes. Members of the public have questioned the extent of consultations on the project and whether what is being done is even necessary.
It is also intended that the thoroughfare will be renamed Avenue of the Caribbean. How that decision was arrived at has not been explained.
While there is a large sign at the starting of the construction from the eastern side of the road, several drivers stated that that they are of the opinion that the ongoing work does not have sufficient signage and is not properly lit as various parts of the road are dark at night and excavated material is left carelessly.
“It was probably two nights ago that I was driving from the eastern side of the road going to Camp Street and there was just one big LED light sign pointing you in the direction of where to drive and stay but then after that there aren’t any other signs on,” Roshini Ramratan, a driver who frequents the road told Stabroek News yesterday. She explained that if persons do not traverse the road with extra caution, there is a possibility that someone would collide with the construction in the middle.
“They have everything going on in the middle which leaves little space for you to drive on the road so most of the time you gotto drive till on the side of the road and you gotto be careful there too cause if someone walking in the dark you could easily miss them,” James (only name given), a bus driver who traverses the road multiple times during the day and night, told Stabroek News yesterday.
He pointed out that he had read in the Stabroek News before that the road was slated for widening works too and questioned why the contractors did not begin the broadening and then the works in the middle.
“It doesn’t make sense to me. Now when the buses stop to drop off at the park, the school (Marian Academy) or anywhere else on the road they gonna hold up the traffic because of the working going on in the middle,” the man explained, pointing out that because of the ongoing construction in the middle of the road persons are not able to overtake cars on either side of the road.
Senior Project Engineer at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Kester Hinds yesterday told Stabroek News that he has made several observations that the construction site does not have enough signs and is not lit enough for adequate safety. He explained that while from the eastern end of the construction there is a big light indicating which side drivers should stay on, other areas are “somewhat dark and not that visible” and pointed out that the issue is something that they are going to address with the contractors, H Nauth and Sons. “We are going to get it sorted out internally for who is responsible,” he said, stating that the suggestion will be made for there to be visible reflective signs and reflective caution tapes in certain sections to demarcate where the construction zone is from the driving path.
In addition to the lack of safety signs, Hinds also explained that during the night there are multiple vehicles parked on the sides of the road that take up additional space and this makes it even harder to manouevre on the road. He said that this issue will also be taken up with the contractor.
Hinds also stated that construction was started in the middle of the road because it would’ve taken more time if they had begun the widening first because of the utility poles that are on each side of the road. “They didn’t want to delay it [the construction] and so that’s why they decided to start in the middle first”, he said.
President David Granger will be the Co-Host when the Caricom Heads of Governments Summit is held here in July. It seems that the Carifesta Avenue project is being expedited for this purpose.
Dominica which was to host the meeting is unable to do so because of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Erika last September.
The Conference will be held here from July 4-6. It will be co-hosted by the CARICOM Secretariat and the Government of Guyana.