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The National Works Agency (NWA) has announced several changes to traffic in Half-Way-Tree, which will take effect from Sunday, December 4.Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill, in his remarks at a press conference held at the Ministry’s Maxfield Avenue head office this morning, explained that the changes were designed to reduce gridlock and would entail reversing the direction of traffic flow along North Odeon Avenue, and converting the south side lane of North Odeon Avenue into a bus bay.
The existing bus bay on Eastwood Park Road will no longer be operational, and will instead be made into an additional lane for vehicular traffic. Similarly, bus stops located on Spencer James Avenue will no longer operate as usual, and buses will be relocated to Suthermere Road.
Highlighting the other changes, Minister Pickersgill said the NWA would be modifying traffic signals at Constant Spring and North Odeon Avenue to facilitate a pedestrian crossing, and also install traffic lights at the intersection of North Odeon Avenue and Eastwood Park Road. He also indicated that motorists, who use North Odeon Avenue to get onto Constant Spring Road, would now use Derrymore Road. “In addition,” he continued, “the exclusive bus lanes along Half-Way-Tree Road will now accommodate regular traffic.”
The Minister said the changes were expected to “result in noticeable reduction in congestion; improved pedestrian safety; reduction in travel time for each corridor; and reduction in fuel consumption.”
Furthermore, he disclosed that to lessen traffic congestion, the NWA has established a Traffic Management Unit, through which traffic signals could be interconnected for a smoother flow of traffic.
“We are mindful of the benefits of technology to our operations and in this regard, we are going to install closed circuit cameras so that our engineers will be able to sit in their offices and monitor traffic flows within the designated area,” Mr. Pickersgill explained.
Providing more details of the expected changes, Michael Saunderson, Operations Manager of the NWA’s Traffic Management Unit, told journalists that in addition to the reversal of traffic along North Odeon Avenue, “we will extend the south side sidewalk to eight feet to accommodate more pedestrian traffic.”
On the matter of traffic signals, he informed that a stoplight would be installed at the intersection of Constant Spring and Derrymore Roads, which would work in tandem with the stoplight at Twin Gates plaza.
The Operations Manager said, “the traffic light will facilitate traffic flow off Derrymore Road onto Constant Spring Road.”
As for the Hope and Hagley Park Road intersection, he informed that overhead traffic signals would be installed and the concrete medians and grounded stoplights would be removed to create space for vehicular traffic. At Half-Way-Tree Road, he said, “we will be removing the concrete island that now serves as a pedestrian refuge; we will install a pedestrian signal and modify the road models. There will also be a closed-circuit camera installed at the Half-Way-Tree/Hope Road intersection.” The concrete median at Half-Way-Tree Road and Cargill Avenue would also be removed, he said, “to facilitate four lanes going southbound along Half- Way-Tree Road, and we will also be installing closed-circuit cameras there.”
Of the four lanes assigned at Constant Spring and Suthermere Roads, Mr. Saunderson said that, “there are two exclusive left lanes that will be changed to two through lanes, one through and a shared left, and an exclusive left lane.”
Meanwhile, at Constant Spring and Hope Roads, “the existing conditions have two lanes going through, and two right turn lanes, that will be changed to four lanes going southbound and a shared right turn lane,” he noted. Turning attention to Clock Tower Plaza, which he said posed a problem with taxis routinely making u-turns or right turns up Hope Road, the situation would now see “the right turns from Clock Tower plaza now restricted.”
Work on the proposed changes will begin tomorrow (Nov.19) and is scheduled to conclude on December 4.