Sheriff St/Rupert Craig traffic lights turned off for GPL work

Traffic backed up on Sheriff Street yesterday afternoon; as drivers tried to cross the busy Rupert Craig Highway. The traffic lights at the junction are not working.

The traffic lights at the junction of Sheriff Street and the Rupert Craig Highway have been temporarily disabled due to the ongoing works by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to relocate the utility poles.

The lights have not been functioning for more than two weeks and this has caused chaos at peak periods at the junction. Multiple drivers have complained about the difficulties encountered in crossing the highway.

Head of the Traffic and Highway Lights Department of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Terrence O’Brien said the lights are currently off because of the ongoing works by GPL.

As part of the Sheriff Street-Mandela Avenue Road Enhancement Project which has started, the utility poles along Sheriff Street were uprooted and replaced by new ones which have been installed at distances farther  apart than the original poles. According to O’Brien, while GPL was moving one of the transformers which was near to the intersection, it was discovered that it had some rusting and other issues, and there was a request for it to be replaced.

“…They would not put back up something with a degree of liability and they asked us, and we said we have one. There’s a transformer at Lusignan that is not being used and they were given permission to remove it and put it back up [at Sheriff Street],” O’Brien said.

He added that the communication between his department and GPL was made late last week, but since then the transformer has not been collected, and this is the main reason the lights at the intersection are not working.

When the transformer is replaced, O’Brien noted that temporary lighting should resume, inclusive of the traffic lights. However, he pointed out that when the road works commence they will remove the current traffic lights and replace it with new ones, which is part of the road upgrading project.

“In a nutshell, we are going to put back the lighting. When they start the works we will have to put our cables back underground and new signals are going to be erected along the corridor because the contract caters for new traffic signals,” O’Brien added.

When Stabroek News visited the intersection yesterday, lines of cars were seen queueing in different lanes since it was difficult for them to cross the road and join new lanes without the assistance of the traffic lights.

Traffic proceeding east and west along the Rupert Craig Highway continued along the road without regards for the traffic waiting patiently in the lanes on Sheriff Street. This resulted in drivers travelling north on Sheriff Street  and trying to access the northern carriageway of the Rupert Craig Highway, having to gradually inch forward the front of their vehicles in a bid to stop the traffic to cross the road.

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