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Public Works Testing New Traffic Lights in Preparation for Commissioning

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Public Works Department will be testing traffic lights in six areas around Basseterre on Thursday, March 10.

According to an Engineer with the Department of Public Works, George Gilbert, the test will begin at 9 a.m. to avoid rush hour and be completed at noon.

He made that announcement during “On The Road” with G-Cue this morning (March 9) on ZIZ.

The areas to be tested are:

Junction of Wellington Road and Dickenson Street at the Gas station

Upper College Street Ghaut and Cayon Street

Lower College street Ghaut and the Bay Road

Port Zante West (RAMS Supermarket/Courts)

Port Zante East (Sands Complex)

Sandown Road and Bay Road

The six areas were part of a traffic lights project that started in January 2021 at seven intersections.

“I must admit to you that we were moving ahead with the traffic lights, we had some setbacks from the COVID of course, and then we actually experienced concern from one of the patrons along the road, and we had to go back to the drawing board to review that particular area. So we put a hold on the whole project. Now, what we tend to do is to move ahead and turn on the lights for six areas,” said Gilbert.

The test is in preparation for operationalising the traffic light.

Jamaican engineer Mr Barrington Cross is consulting on the project. Mr Cross said the tests are critical to the operational efficiency of the traffic lights.

“What we are testing for included the sensors in the road, the pedestrian walk time (so everyone on the ground is comfortable)… we would be testing for a myriad of things. The sensor, the pedestrian, the bulbs[ themselves], the sequence of lights, and generally the timing of the lights… that visibility is okay. Each of them [testing the lights] should take about 15 minutes.”

Initially, the project was expected to be completed in March 2021. However, the seventh intersection at Bird Rock and Bay Road has posed several problems during the project.

According to Gilbert, the slip lanes were expected to be completed in May 2021.

The completion of the project was delayed by restrictions on movement during high COVID-19 transmission, complaints from property owners and business owners of the surrounding areas, and the inability to do an accurate vehicle count to help understand the flow of traffic and the best way to program the lights.

“One of the reasons why we held so long before we did the data was because there was the COVID; you were knocked down, schools were on shifts, some schools were closed, cruise ships were not coming, so we did not have the fullness of their traffic movement. So if we had done a survey during those times, it would not have reflected what we were looking for; we want to reflect a true indication of our traffic,” said Gilbert.

“Now the cruise industry is coming back on stream; schools are fully in gear, everybody is back to work again as normal, people going to customs, people going all over. Then we actually take the opportunity to do the traffic count at that time. So we have picked up the information. The information is being analysed at this moment, and then a decision will be made will consultation with the stakeholders in the area there.”

No estimated timeline was shared for operationalising the lights.

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