The Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations has spearheaded the all-important process of developing a traffic management plan for the National Healthcare Complex, located in Coubaril, off the Millennium Highway in Castries.
Through a partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Traffic Department of the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), the Bureau of Standards and the National Council on Public Transport (NCOPT), the Ministry intends to use a number of measures in order to achieve improvements in traffic and road safety, as well as pedestrian accessibility.
Recently, representatives of the two partner Ministries conducted a site visit to commence investigative analyses and needs assessments for the formulation of the traffic plan, which spans the entire highway, from the Cul de Sac junction to the Bananes roundabout.
Project Engineer to the Healthcare Complex, Wendell Bernard, says that driver instruction will ideally start at both the northern and southern entrances of the roadway.
“We intend to implement, signage and road markings along the entire highway to ensure road users are well aware of the changes taking place. This is especially important where pedestrians are concerned, considering the expected increase in this type of traffic after commissioning of the hospital. Currently, there are limited driving instructions along the roadway and we want to get road users familiar with the new commands that will be instituted or enforced,” said Bernard.
For its part, the Ministry of Infrastructure will lead the recommendations on the methods for slowing down traffic upon approach of the complex, the appropriateness of the location of the bus stops and determining pedestrian accessibility. During the implementation phase, the Infrastructure Ministry’s input will also be critical.
“Through the development of this plan, we are being very cognizant of the need to allow for further development of the highway in future. This is where our partners in the Ministry of Infrastructure are vital, owing to the fact that they are part of the original architects of the roadway and are responsible for its maintenance,” said Bernard.
The collaboration between the two ministries and other agencies on this aspect of completing the Hospital is critical to ensuring all international standards and legislative regulations are adhered to in the process.
According to the Project’s Research Officer, Fabian Lewis, “all preparations for the adoption of a bus route for the complex have long been completed through the NCOPT.”
“We want to ensure that all stakeholders for traffic management at the complex are consulted prior to implementation and that service delivery to the public is not adversely impacted. It is also necessary that our activities adhere to global standards and as a result, we are working closely with the Bureau of Standards in the process of constructing signage on the highway, as well as within the complex itself,” said Lewis.
The Ministry of Health is also investigating the feasibility of implementing a dedicated ambulance lane. Controlled access points and traffic management within the complex are also being determined. At every stage, the RSLPF’s Traffic Department is expected to approve the recommendations.
“The Ministry of Health is making certain that the adage ‘state of the art’ is applicable to every component of this complex. While the focus remains to improve the healthcare
system, we are very aware of the impact of complementary services on the delivery of quality care and this is why we are placing such emphasis on areas like traffic management,” said Lewis.