NASSAU, The Bahamas – The proposed Gladstone Road Improvement Project is expected to incorporate new features which support the government’s emphasis on resilience and sustainability.
A 4-lane carriageway, an improved drainage system, street lighting, a bike trail, and sidewalks are among the new additions to the “major” corridor which has an estimated 2-year time completion.
The Ministry of Works and Utilities held a Town Meeting Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at the National Training Agency, Gladstone Road, to present plans for the new corridor.
Minister of Works and Utilities, the Hon. Alfred Sears said the occasion was to enable designers and experts in the Ministry; and consultants to have the benefit of the “collective wisdom” of the various communities which will be directly impacted by the project.
“As we put emphasis on wellness, the corridor will also make accommodation for bicycles, cyclists. We’re encouraging more of our people to exercise and have an active lifestyle,” said the Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities.
“In addition to pedestrians, cyclists, also for residents of areas which are in proximity to the corridor, there will be a physical barrier erected especially in the vicinity of Jubilee Gardens’ subdivision so that the quality of life of the residents who live adjacent to the highway will be protected in terms of minimizing noise as well as pollution.
“In the design, the focus is also on making it resilient; that is the elevation of the road, the installation of drainage infrastructure so that the reality of more intense weather phenomenon would not make the road impassable or inconvenient for traversing. A very modern drainage infrastructure has also been incorporated in the design,” he said.
Residents of the area, business owners, church leaders and representatives of BPL and the Water and Sewerage Corporation attended the meeting. Luther Smith, Permanent Secretary; Bacchus Rolle, Parliamentary Secretary; Damian Francis, deputy director and Dion Munroe, project engineer, were also present.
Minister Sears remarked that as a “major” corridor, Gladstone Road is very critical for commerce, domestic affairs, recreation, and also one of the most “troublesome” corridors in terms of traffic jams, accidents and other inconveniences including irritation due to the quality of the road [prior to improvements in December 2022].
“Taking into consideration this history and the increased use of this corridor, the design work has expanded the corridor from single to dual carriage way. It has also taken into consideration the use of the corridor by motorists in terms of dual carriage way, shoulders, the bus stop, lighting along the median; but for other users of the corridors, sidewalks on both sides of the corridor so that the pedestrian is not battling for space with the vehicular traffic.”
Using a power point presentation, Mr. Munroe gave an overview of the project. He said studies indicate that at peak hours between 5 am to 10 am it takes almost 20 minutes to get from one end of the three-mile-long single carriage way to the next at the 30 mph speed limit. The drive, however, is intended to be a 10 minute drive.
“We have exceeded the current capacity. By going to a dual carriageway we intend to get down to 7 minutes from one end to the next. That calls for the introduction of a dual carriageway with 4 lanes, 2 in either direction with a central lane separating opposing traffic flow.”
He said the new corridor will also introduce roundabouts to allow full turns at major junctions of Carmichael Road, Gladstone Road, Rocky Pine, Firetrail Road, near Aquinas College School. The junction at JFK will also be realigned and improved.
The design calls for 4 to 12-foot-wide lanes, two in either direction, sidewalks on either side from Carmichael Road to JFK, a bicycle path between Carmichael and Firetrail Road, bus stops with proper laybys, bus shelters, roadside drainage and a 4-foot-wide shoulder to allow a vehicle that malfunctions to be moved out of the flow of traffic.
These studies have been conducted: a traffic study, street lighting survey, geotechnical and environmental study.
A question and answer segment followed the presentation.