JIS News

Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill has informed that work on the Half-Way-Tree Transportation Centre and the subsequent rerouting of traffic from South Odeon Avenue to North Odeon Avenue, will commence on Labour Day (May 23).
“Changes may take effect on Labour Day, weather permitting.” the Transport and Works Minister informed a press conference held yesterday (May 19), at the Ministry’s Maxfield Avenue Offices. He explained that the recent inclement weather had hindered the commencement of the planned works, but that plans were afoot to proceed as soon as conditions allowed.
Mr. Pickersgill noted that the time chosen to effect the changes was the most appropriate as there would not be “the ordinary rush of traffic” on that day. Additionally he advised that the commencement of work was also dependent on preparatory work being undertaken on North Odeon Avenue to facilitate a “smooth introduction of the rerouting of traffic”.
To accommodate the rerouted traffic the Minister informed, the road surface of North Odeon Avenue would be paved in addition to the installation of traffic lights and three lanes in which to travel.
Mr. Pickersgill also called on business operators and motorists to be patient as the changes were being implemented. “The Half-Way Tree hub is the biggest hub in the island and any changes there, will cause dislocation and we are asking people to be patient and if changes have to be made, those will be done,” he urged.
“There will be the appropriate programme to sensitise particular interested parties, motorists and the general public prior to the implementation of the re-routing of traffic,” the Minister further explained. Turning to the amendments to the Road Traffic Act, the Transport and Works Minister informed that significant fines would be levied against the operators of vehicles operating without a road licence. “The fines are being increased significantly to deter offenders,” he said.
Noting that previous interpretations of Section 61(5) of the Road Traffic Act by the courts had resulted in the Transport Authority and the police being exposed to numerous lawsuits, the Minister informed that the adjustments also sought to eliminate these ambiguities. “The Amendments to the Transport Authority Bill and the Road Traffic bill are intended to eliminate the ambiguities as to when vehicles can be properly seized and to make the provisions for the seizure more explicit,” he explained.
The amendments will see a first time offender receiving a fine of not less than $20,000 or more than $40,000, in default of payment; an imprisonment term not exceeding six months. Meanwhile, a second offence will carry a fine of not less than $40,000 or more than $75,000, in default of payment, and an imprisonment term not exceeding six months.
Also, a third offence will result in a fine of not less than $75,000 or more than $125,000, in default of payment, as well as a term of 12 months imprisonment and disqualification from holding a driver’s licence for one year.
An additional amendment to the Act will see taxi operators operating contrary to the stipulations of their licences being fined from $5,000 up to $100,000. Noting that the fines were not exorbitant, Minister Pickersgill said, “all who operate illegally will be dealt with”.
These amendments will take effect as soon as they are approved by the Governor General.

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