The Public Infrastructure Ministry will be putting measures in place during 2016 on a number of initiatives geared at increasing road safety.
Recognising the number of vehicular accidents that occur as a result of either a lack of traffic lights or inadequate street lighting, corrective measures will be taken.
This will see $72 million being spent on highway lighting at Linden, Coverden, Corentyne and Ogle. Additionally $1.1 million will be spent to replace 37 high pressure sodium vapour street lamps, $1.4 million to install 65 LED street lamps, and 300 defective photo sensors on street lights will be replaced at a cost of $18.2 million, the Government Information Agency reported.
A sum of $28.6 million will be spent to install traffic lights at critical areas prone to accidents. Some of the areas under consideration include the vicinity of Caricom Building; the 5-Corner Junction in Linden, and Corriverton.
In addition to street and traffic lights, road safety mechanisms are now an added feature of road and highway projects.
The Vreed-en-Hoop to Hydronie corridor, touted as the ministry’s fourth road project, includes US$2.5 million which caters for a School Road Safety Education Programme.
This project will see the West Coast Demerara road being widened to a three-lane highway at best to accommodate pedestrians. The shoulders of the road will also include a bus lane for the safe discharging of passengers. Sidewalks will be constructed to ensure pedestrians and motorists no longer would have to compete for road space.
This safety initiative will also be seen in Corriverton, Region 6 (East Berbice/Corentyne) where a pedestrian sidewalk will be constructed.
An amount of $5.0 billion will be invested in the reconstruction of Sheriff Street that will facilitate improved traffic safety features, including pedestrian overhead crossings at strategic locations.
The need for these levels of investments comes as a result of the rapid growth of vehicular traffic and an existing road network which does not cater for pedestrians.
The consequences of this mismatch are many, including frustration of all road users; lost time and productivity due to delays; and frequent accidents, many of them deadly.
These investments will be supported by a Sustainable Urban Transport plan which includes among other things a traffic model for Georgetown, a parking management plan, regularisation of minibus operations, provision of public transport facilities, and the use of public transport and non-motorised modes in the most congested areas.