Grant: Any changes to road improvement project a bad idea
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: May 10, 2013
Former Minister of Public Works and Transport Neko Grant said the government should abandon plans to make changes to the controversial New Providence Road Improvement Project, and any alterations to it would cost the public more money.
Grant said motorists in New Providence consistently tell him that the road project has minimized traffic for people traveling north to south and east to west.
He said that changes to traffic flow as a part of the NPRIP were done after numerous studies and if changed could cause confusion for motorists who have gotten used to those changes.
“It would be a big mistake to reverse the traffic flow that has been in effect for over a year, that is traffic going north on Baillou Hill Road and south on Market Street,” Grant said.
“We didn’t make those changes haphazardly. There were studies that went into it. I believe it’s working and the public is pleased.”
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis recently said that the government may commission additional “design adjustments” to the NPRIP.
He said proposals dealing with the costs associated with the changes are still under review. He added that any changes will be made “for the purpose of the safety of the traveling public” and more efficient traffic management.
While he did not specify which roads might undergo changes, Davis has previously been critical of the western portion of Robinson Road, Market Street and Baillou Hill Road.
Grant said he did not think making changes to those roads was a good idea because motorists are used to the traffic flow on those streets. Market Street and Baillou Hill Road were made one-way thoroughfares under the NPRIP.
“I think the public has become accustomed to the way the roads are and those who wish to shop in those areas have made the necessary adjustments.”
The NPRIP began in 2008 after the Ingraham administration signed a $119.9 million contract with Argentinean contractor Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles. The project ran nearly $100 million overbudget and behind schedule. It was heavily criticized by the opposition.
Grant said the government should focus on repairing the main road in Marsh Harbor, Abaco instead of fiddling with the roads in New Providence.
“People in Marsh Harbour are complaining that they are falling in potholes already. They are supposedly fixing them but are not doing a good job.”
In January the government signed a $1.3 million contract with Bill Simmons Construction and Heavy Equipment Co. Limited for the patching and sealing of five miles of road in Central Abaco.
Grant said the road sealing is being done with sand instead of asphalt, which he believes will not last in the long term.