Friday, December 15, 2017

Proper signage needed to alert Interchange users

As a regular visitor during the past 25 years to Trinidad, I have been eagerly looking for­ward to the eventual completion of the Uriah Butler/Churchill-Roosevelt Interchange.

Upon my arrival at Piarco yesterday, during the course of day one, I deci­ded to experience from the driver’s seat the above recently completed, arterial confluence of the Uriah Butler Highway and the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway intersection. Two trips were undertaken.

Trip 1 was from the airport to Champs Fleurs and then, following a much-needed rest from that exercise, I decided to tackle a trip from Champs Fleurs to Port of Spain. And that is how I nearly ended up in Port in Spain on Trip No 1, were it not for a timely detour through the various Bamboo patches in the outskirts of the capital of our island, an island which is at times deemed to be no longer a Third World country.

Trip No 2 was equally intriguing as I found myself suddenly headed for San Fernando, were it not, once again, for a timely detour through Trinidad’s obviously “must-see” Bamboo villages. Granted that this detour would have preclu­ded me from making Trip No 3, which was slated for San Fernando the following day.

My question is, what is it about these villages with such insidious names as Bamboo 1 to X that make them unsolicited tourist attractions for all to see whenever one chooses to traverse the interchange? Is this some form of toll or penalty for the latter’s use? 

But I digress from the very serious issue at hand. And serious it is, judging from many similar comments I have heard from various locals in the few hours that I have been here—once I arrive at my intended destinations, of course.  These discussions usually end with, “Somebody should write in about this foolishness!” So here I am, as a mere layman, with some unsolicited food for thought for the powers that be.

Would it not be better if a series of appropriate signs pertaining to the various on-ramps were to be located well in advance along the approaches, rather than have them located at or past the confluence of such ramps and the main thoroughfare? This would, first and foremost, give drivers enough time to start manoeuvring into the proper approach lane and in line for the correct on-ramp. 

The next series of signs should be situated, again, well before the intersection of the main thoroughfare and the driver’s targeted on-ramp to make him or her assured that he is safely heading in the right direction.

The third sign (not the first or the second) should pertain to the ramp in question and should be located along the ramp and just past (not at) the intersection of the ramp and the main thoroughfare, and it should be visible and readable by the driver well before he arrives at the above intersection. These last ramp signs can be placed on the lamp standards—after removal of those rope lights, which are source of distraction and, thus, a safety hazard. 

To get the drift of what I am trying to say, take a look in Friday’s Express of February 21, 2014, at Nidco’s (National Infrastructure Development Company) public notice concerning the construction of the Bonne Aventure Road and see where the temporary signage is to be placed on the approaches to the site. Yes! Right at the intersection of every cross street.

Granted that notice may be schematic, but heaven help us if the workman actually pla­cing the signs gets hold of Friday’s newspaper. 

W Alexander Walrond

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