October 15, 2013

The cost of progress

Tue Oct 15, 2013

Very rarely do good things in life come easily.

Yesterday, a US$44 million project to rehabilitate and upgrade the portion of the Leeward highway from the corner of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital to the post office in Layou, was officially launched.{{more}}

The project will not actually get started until January next year, but already, officials are warning road users that once it commences, they will be subjected to several months of inconvenience.

Vincentians have been complaining for years about the state of our roads, especially those along the South Leeward highway, but are we prepared for the sacrifices that will be required to get the job done?

Speakers at yesterday’s ceremony to officially launch the project were all singing the same song, asking the public to exercise patience and for them to cooperate for the 18 months or so that the project is expected to take.

Last week Monday, rehabilitation work began on another highway, the Vigie Highway, and if the reaction of some of our road users to that much smaller road project gives a foretaste of what will happen next year, the contractors working on the leeward highway project and our law enforcement officers are in for a warm time.

Traffic along one portion of the Vigie Highway has been made one-way to accommodate work taking place on that road. Despite this, drivers have been consistently ignoring road signs and driving the wrong way along that stretch of road, in some cases, even breaking down the barriers.

Now, does this make sense? Why are some of us so lawless? Now is the time, ahead of the big Leeward project, for our law enforcement authorities to demonstrate to drivers that they mean business, and prosecute all those who feel that diversions and road signs are not applicable to them.

Lack of cooperation on the part of our road users only serves to make road rehabilitation more difficult for the contractors and for ourselves.

We want to have our roads rehabilitated and upgraded. We have no choice but to cooperate. Failing that, the projects will take longer and cost us, the taxpayers, more. Inconvenience is the cost of progress.