Correct the Mandela Highway faults

Monday, October 01, 2018

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It's not for nothing that people at the lower rung of the socio-economic ladder often feel hard done by in every respect.

Separate and apart from their particular circumstance, the least privileged among us often believe that the authorities, and indeed the rest of society, show them little regard and that in fact they are holding the worst end of the stick in every respect.

Let's consider the lead story in yesterday's Sunday Observer about the problems pedestrians are facing on the unfinished Mandela Highway.

We are told that those seeking access to the Hydel Group of Schools or on other business in that vicinity are in fear of their lives because of speeding, uncaring motorists.

“It is scary,” one parent is reported to have said as she related experiences which easily could have ended in tragedy.

The behaviour of undisciplined motorists won't come as a surprise to any of us. It's evident on the roads everyday, everywhere.

It's an unfortunate fact of the human condition that far too many people think primarily about themselves and give very little, if any thought to others. Those are the same people who drive like bullies and ruffians.

We are told that the construction of an overhead pass intended to accommodate pedestrian as well as vehicular traffic will eventually resolve the pedestrian problem at Hydel.

However, delays on the construction project apparently mean that won't be completed for sometime yet.

Traffic wardens employed to help children, their parents and teachers only work for limited time periods. In the circumstances people have resorted to innovative ways. We are told that some people have resorted to walking under a bridge — an option which we are left to assume is not recommended.

Our reporter tells us that about 400 metres west of Hydel there is a detour which allows vehicles to do drop-offs and pick-ups then re-enter the highway.

However, those using public transportation apparently have no such facility. They must “venture onto the highway using a steep marl slope close to the school. Those going into the Corporate Area stand on that side of the road while those going to Spanish Town have to cross traffic headed in both directions to utilise a makeshift bus stop on the other side, which is but a narrow gap in the median”.

To be clear, we welcome the upgrading work on the highway. It was long overdue, and the National Works Agency (NWA) should be commended for getting it done. However, based on the published report, what is happening on the highway is an absolute disgrace.

The NWA and all other relevant authorities need to move immediately to take corrective action.

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