The Project Implementation Management Unit (PIMU) is initiating a Public Education Campaign regarding islandwide roadwork and new traffic management procedures with the installation of roundabouts and new road markings on Sir George Walter Highway and Friars Hill Road.
“The Ministry of Works recognises the importance of increasing awareness and knowledge about road safety and endorses the public education campaign and necessitates that the media play a role in disseminating crucial information to the population at large, particularly with the addition of multi-lane roundabouts to the local traffic system,” Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Works Clarence Pilgrim said in a release.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Rodney Ellis, provided an update on the Traffic Management Plan for the Road Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project and the Second Road Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project now underway.
The police also stated that reckless driving, exceeding the speed limit, distracted driving and running red lights are some of the main contributors of accidents on the road and encouraged the driving population to adhere to the traffic laws of Antigua and Barbuda.
On Friars Hill Road, road rehabilitation work extends from Government House to the junction of Cedar Grove main road where there are now new roundabouts respectively. Additionally, roadwork is nearing completion with the rehabilitation of the stretch of road from the VC Bird International Airport with the installation of a roundabout there, to the junction of Sir George Walter Highway and Sir Sydney Walling Highway, where another roundabout is now completed. Roundabouts are designed to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion as well as commute time.
While resurfacing of both major roads are nearing completion, new road markings are now being put in place with right turning lanes. The new road markings will result in a change to driver behavior as road users learn to navigate the new roundabouts. At the end of the project, five new roundabouts will be added to the road network.
The roundabout model is a shift from the previous traffic lights system, which is viewed as national road infrastructure modernization.
Another feature to ongoing road works is periodic road closures that result in established diversion routes published as part of a traffic management plan, organised by the Traffic Management Committee. This committee receives technical support from one of the project’s key stakeholders and partners, the traffic department within the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda.
Police involvement ensures that each project addresses road safety issues in an effort to mitigate the impact posed by the implementation of road rehabilitation works.
The Traffic Management Committee also consists of representatives from the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board, Emergency Medical Services, the Fire Department, the PIMU and the Contractor’s representatives from various projects.
ASP Ellis, who is a member of the Traffic Management Committee said: “Our input is fundamental to the decision-making process for diversions and detours, in addition to overall road safety.”
With over 43,000 vehicles actively registered in Antigua and Barbuda, the creation of diversions assists in the progression of roadway construction.
“We are aware that some members of the public have expressed concerns about some of the diversions adding that the necessary public notices are issued to give all stakeholders adequate time to prepare for their daily commute. Motorists are encouraged to exercise patience and extend courtesy to their fellow road users, particularly at the diversion areas,” ASP Ellis stated.
“The presence of the police will be felt by the road users as low riders have already actively begun patrolling the Friars Hill Road and Sir George Walter Highway,” the senior officer warned, adding that persons violating the traffic laws by speeding and driving recklessly will face charges with the possibility of their driver’s licence being suspended or revoked.