Adjustments made to ‘Dangerous’ Median Barriers

The Choc and Halcyon median barriers have been quite the frequent accident spot, leading to four road fatalities since the construction of the medians were completed a few years ago. The decision to change the abrupt ends of the median barriers came after an accident took the life of Matthew Moses of Ti Morne, Union on the eve of Easter weekend near the Sandals Halcyon.
According to Chief Engineer, Albert Jn Baptiste who was appointed to the post from acting Chief Engineer on June 1st, the plan as reported in a previous report in the STAR newspaper has not changed. He says the Ministry has kept their promise to make this part of the four lane highway safer. Jn Baptiste says the cost remains the same and the construction will go on for about two weekends until the road is completed.
“The intention as it is right now is to begin at the Choc end and continue with the battered curbs until we have a continual layout as we have it right now. The intention is to have the battered curb spreading all the way from Halcyon across to Choc,” said Jn Baptiste.
The Chief says while this new change is expected to reduce vehicular accidents along that route, there may be disadvantages for road users.
“The only disadvantage which is not really a disadvantage at all is that people will not be able to turn for example into Sagicor coming from the south or turn near into the restaurant or cottages on the right coming from the north.
“I do not see this as a disadvantage or a serious problem. In fact, as far as I am concerned this is really a safety issue we are addressing. Because, turning across two lanes is not the safest and best practice for a driver. It is very dangerous and I have seen people do it. I think it is good that we are putting the battered curbs so this will take away the hazards or risk of accidents as it is right now.”
Jn Baptiste believes the placement of the structures will increase the safety both at Choc and near Sandals. He further explains the incline placed at the end of the median on both sides should in no way create the avenue for fast approaching vehicles to climb up and turn over or jump fly into the air as seen in some Hollywood films.
“The only way I can see a vehicle capsizing is if you would be able to get two of the wheels on the incline plane. The wheels would have to be riding on the battered curb and then onto the tapper which is highly improbable for the vehicle to run up the battered curb and then onto the incline plane to shoot off into space.
“That is highly improbable. If you are travelling at a high speed, the probability that you are going to remain on the battered curb is very, very, very low. The chance of a vehicle ending up there and capsizing is extremely unlikely. Is it impossible? I would not say so but it is very unlikely,” said the Chief.
He also took some time to express sympathy to the families of the victims who lost their lives along that portion of the highway. He says the Ministry was very concerned about the recent incidents and took every step to make that part of the road safer for motorists.
“The Ministry of Infrastructure truly laments the four deaths which happened between the two barriers. We are deeply sorry and we deeply regret the loss of life but it is our intention going forward to do all in our power to make our roads safer. We recognize that having put the battered curbs the north bound lane is now more narrow than it was before, therefore, we are working assiduously to ensure that we widen this lane to make driving for the driving public much more comfortable and safer.”

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