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Feb 19, 2019

C.E.O. Gentle says Philip Goldson Highway is Being Upgraded to Meet International Standards

Earlier this month, a woman lost her life jumping the barriers in the middle of the Philip Goldson Highway. The pedestrian, Marlena Mortis, was knocked down and killed as she tried to get to the other side of the highway. Residents in the area have complained bitterly about the lack of consideration for pedestrians who live on that stretch of the highway.  They say that they have to walk long distances to get to the other side of the street – because there is no overpass and nothing was done to accommodate them as the upgrades were being made. Well, it seems that is just the way it is going to be. C.E.O. Errol Gentle in the Ministry of Works says don’t blame the barriers – it was all on the driver and pedestrian. He says that the upgrades are being done to meet international standards so that is why no pedestrian crossings are there. He says pedestrians need to get used to it and just walk the distance. Here’s how he explains it.

 

Errol Gentle

Errol Gentle, C.E.O., Ministry of Works

“The first, the drivers – if that driver wasn’t speeding, then maybe that woman wouldn’t have died. That is the first thing. The second thing, we need a change of attitude, a change of behavior. Yes, it is through the city, it is an urban area. But now we are talking about development. We are talking about a three-lane highway or four lane highways. Maybe ten years ago, even five years ago, I was able to walk across the road easily. But now that has changed. We are talking about a free-way and there is absolutely no way you want to try and walk across a free way. If you go right across the border to Mexico or the USA, you wouldn’t do that. One of the objectives of this project is to ensure that accidents are minimized but also traffic congestion. You know the problem we used to have and even during construction when traffic was backed up all the way to bridge. If you continue put speed bumps on the highway that is exactly what will happen and then you will not achieve the objective. But we have sidewalks on both sides; nine-hundred meters of secured side-walks that pedestrians can walk. I mention again that if you used to walk across the week to go to the Chinese store that is in the past. We are talking about development now and so the exercise is good; you need to walk the twenty meters to the round-a-bout or you go to the shop that is on your side. But we also see instances where bus drivers are stopping in the fast lane and have passengers alighting. So, enforcement is needed but also a change in behavior. It is either we remain at the standard we are or we build to international standards. In the interim, whilst they will accept the development, maybe it might be a little bit inconvenient for them for the time being. But I am certain that we should be able to adjust and live with it because we need to develop this country.”

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