JAM | May 8, 2023

Do not access roads still under construction, urges NWA

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
National Works Agency

The National Works Agency (NWA) is urging motorists to desist from using roadways that are still under construction.

Communication and Customer Services Manager at the NWA, Stephen Shaw, says that drivers are attempting to access roads that are still being worked on. He warned that road users who do so, run the risk of serious injury or even death along roadways that are not ready for public use.

He noted that although physical barriers are placed to prevent persons from using unfinished roads, “you still have those unruly persons who go and physically remove the barriers, to allow themselves and others to use sections of these corridors that are not yet in use”.

Shaw further stated that this is an issue that the NWA has expressed concerns about in the past, where persons use equipment such as front end loaders, to remove the heavy barriers to gain access.

Shaw referenced a recent case in St. Thomas, where this practice resulted in loss of life.

“Persons have been using sections of the corridor that are not yet open to vehicular traffic and in an uncaring and irresponsible manner, resulting in fatalities,” he said.

Shaw pointed out that the new highway from Harbour View to Yallahs is not yet open to the public and is only accessible to authorised vehicles.

“This is a matter that we are particularly concerned about. We have met with the consultants on the ground, we have met with the contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company, and we have sought to bolster our safety measures along the road,” he added.

“We had a recent situation in Hanover on the Woodsville Bridge, which was closed for about a year or so. We put physical impediments there, we dumped loads of material, persons removed the material and were using the bridge and of course, the bridge collapsed,” he explained.

Shaw also recalled that in Portland, the Dry River Bridge collapsed under the weight of a loaded truck.

While being thankful that no one was injured in either case, he stressed that it is a dangerous practice that could result in serious injury or loss of life.

“We really want persons to take responsibility for their own safety, don’t just say that the government ought to ensure that you are safe along the road. When we give notices, when we put up signs, we want persons to obey these, because we do not want to lose anyone because of their own irresponsible behaviour,” he stressed.

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