NWA mulls reverting Willie Delisser to two-way traffic


NWA mulls reverting Willie Delisser to two-way traffic

Observer West writer

Thursday, January 23, 2020

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LUCEA, Hanover — Faced with chronic traffic congestion in the town of Lucea, the National Works Agency (NWA) is evaluating a proposal to make changes to the traffic directional flow in the Hanover capital.

The proposal includes reverting Willie Delisser Boulevard from one-way into two-way, according to the agency's community relations officer for the western region, Janel Ricketts.

Willie Delisser Boulevard was converted into a one-way in the 90s', while in 2008, the NWA converted Millers Drive, Bigwell Lane, Moseley Drive, and Cressy's Lane into one-way, due to traffic congestion on Hanover Street during peak hours.

Since then, previous Lucea mayors, both from the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP), have called for a reversal, claiming that the move has contributed to further traffic delays.

Almost three years ago, Lucea mayor Sheridan Samuels told the Jamaica Observer West that Hanover Street is congested “with both traffic and delivery trucks delivering goods to business places on the populated roadway”, as he called for Willie Delisser Boulevard to be converted back into a two-way roadway.

The issue was again brought to the fore at a recent monthly general meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation.

However, Ricketts told the Observer West on Monday that it is “not a simple process” to reverse the existing direction in which the traffic flows, hence the need for an evaluation.

“We are in the process of an evaluation, because it is not a simple process of just reversing the system,” Ricketts stressed.

She noted that she was informed by a senior engineer at the NWA that there could be several problems in making such an adjustment.

“So we have to ensure that the figures support it. So based on our counts, will it be better? Because, he [senior engineer] said as it stands now, there are multiple conflicts along the roadway with the entrances and so on. You have the market, you have the transportation centre, so those situations in of itself create conflicts that may not necessarily support or make it easier if we switch it around,” argued Ricketts.

“So it may not necessarily solve the congestion even though it may seem as an easy solution to do this, and so it has to be properly evaluated to ensure that the best route is taken.”

And as part of a wider solution, the mayor, supported by his councillors, the Negril Destination Assurance Council (DAC), the Negril Chamber of Commerce, and the Hanover Chamber of Commerce, has long called for the creation of a bypass for the town of Lucea.

Two weeks ago, the Hanover Municipal Corporation, the Negril and Hanover chambers of commerce renewed the call for a bypass road.

Despite announcements from Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett in recent years that the government plans to create a bypass for the town of Lucea and the fast-developing town of Hopewell, a start-up date is yet to be finalised.

Meanwhile, the absence of traffic lights in both towns to assist with traffic flow, are also of concern to the Lucea mayor. He said at least two traffic signals are needed in Lucea and one in Hopewell.

Hanover is now the only parish in western Jamaica that does not have traffic lights.

“We and Trelawny were competing, but now Trelawny has lights that are so bright,[they] can even brighten up the nights. Why is it that we are treated this way?” he asked.

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