September 30, 2011, marked the 21st month of the start of civil works on the Washington Boulevard/Dunrobin Avenue (Fifth Road) Improvement Project (WBIP), and the substantial completion of this long conceptualized and eagerly awaited Project.
The WBIP, the early designs of which date back to 2002, was implemented in June 2007, with its civil works contract commencing in January 2010. The now enhanced corridor boasts six (6) driving lanes up from two (2), spanning a distance of 2.75 kilometres from the intersection of Dunrobin Avenue and Constant Spring Road to the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Molynes Road.
The project was estimated at a total Project Cost of Twenty-three Million three hundred and ninety thousand United States Dollars (US$23.390-million), of which the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a loan of fourteen million, seven hundred and seventy seven thousand United States Dollars (US$14.777-million) and the remainder of US$ 8.613-million financed by GOJ.
Today, the Ministry of Transport and Works and the National Works Agency are pleased announce that this roadway – now greatly enhanced, is (substantially) completed!
The Enhancements of the Corridor include:-
- The construction of Boundary Walls along the new road alignment;
- Installation of new traffic signals at nine (9) intersections along the corridor;
- Pedestrian facilities at all intersections. These include Pedestrian Push Buttons, Pedestrian Crossings; Pedestrian “Stop” and “Walk” signals.
- Improved sidewalks on both sides of the main six-lane corridor, as well as along the roadway of the Underpass.
- Sidewalks along the Ramps of the Red Hills Bridge/Overpass and Drop Kerbs at pedestrian access points.
- A total of sixty-nine (69) additional LED street lights.
- Improved drainage systems which include 119 storm water manholes, geared at significantly alleviating the instances of flooding during rainfall events.
- The construction of kerbs, box culverts, retaining walls;
- The construction/improvement of a total of nine (9) structures, including the construction of three (3) new bridge structures, namely:-
- The Northern section of the Red Hills Overpass;
- A Box Culvert over the Rochester Gully;
- A Box Culvert over the Merrivale Gully.
The south-western and north-western ramps of the Red Hills Overpass have also been extended from single-lane to two (2) traffic lanes.
- Utility bridges and pipe culverts for NWC water main have been constructed.
- NWC sewer gravity and force-main; as well as 150-millimetre diameter distribution waterlines have been installed.
- New 6-inch waterlines have been placed along Dunrobin Avenue, on both sides of the roadway to mitigate against the bursting of waterlines and leakage under the roadway.
Civil works under the WBIP was completed by contractor, Surrey Paving and Aggregates Limited, at a cost of J$1.7-billion.
EXPECTED ECONOMIC BENEFITS
It is the hope of the National Works Agency that this improved roadway will bring relief to residents, motorists, pedestrians and business interests along Washington Boulevard, Dunrobin Avenue and neighbouring localities, who had suffered years of grave traffic congestion along Washington Boulevard and Dunrobin Avenue, a situation which extended along many of the off leading roads. People, goods and services are expected to be transported freer and safer along the corridor, thus producing a reduction in vehicle operating costs.
Traffic Safety...A major consideration
The issue of motorist and pedestrian safety was a huge consideration of the WBIP. It is based on this consideration that the NWA has installed a total of Nine (9) new traffic signals along the corridor, complete with pedestrian facilities which include pedestrian push-buttons, signals and pedestrian crossings.
Intervention in Schools
The NWA recognizes that with the widening of the roadway from two to six lanes, the attitude of motorists will change, they will be moving at a faster rate, yielding less to pedestrians. Pedestrians, and especially school children, would therefore need to adopt a more vigilant approach to traversing this new roadway in order to ensure their safety. In this regard, the National Works Agency has organized a series of intervenient meetings with schools located along the corridor and its environs, deemed to be directly impacted by the enhancements undertaken.
These interventions are geared at educating students and in some cases, parents/guardians on the proper use of the roadway and pedestrian facilities, including the observance of pedestrian safety signs, in order to ensure their safety along the corridor. The programme commenced in September 2011 and is expected to continue through to November 2011.
OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE IMPROVED CORRIDOR
A ceremony to mark the official opening of the new 6-lane corridor was held on Wednesday, October 12, 2011.
It is the hope of the National Works Agency that this corridor will serve its users well. To the motorists we say: “Drive safely”; and to Pedestrians, “WALK GOOD!”.