A top local engineer has raised concerns over the installation of new traffic lights in the country given what happened with the initial set of traffic lights that were set up under the 1995-99 New National Party (NNP) administration of ex-Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY, the engineer felt that Grenada should pay more attention to building a good network of roads around the island than installing traffic lights.
“In terms of a nice surface riding (with vehicles) and those kinds of things we don’t have that,” he said.
“The infrastructure we have in Grenada means we don’t need any traffic lights. We had it before, it doesn’t serve any purpose now we have it when we have the same narrow, winding snake roads, more vehicles, bad road surface, bad everything so what will that do?”
According to the Engineer, the question which immediately comes to mind is what will the authorities do with the current lot of Traffic Wardens that were brought into play by the 2018-22 government led by Keith Mitchell.
He said the heavy traffic in Grenada is really between 7. 00 .a.m. and 9.00 a.m and later in the afternoon from 4.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.
“We don’t need no traffic lights for that. When 8 o’clock reach in the night, business dead in Grenada because where you were going. So you might have to put the thing on Amber for the whole night because what you’re controlling,” he remarked.
“What we also have to understand is that our roads remain the same and since the last time we had traffic lights, that number of vehicles has more than tripled or quadrupled.”
The Engineer noted that unlike other countries where traffic lights serve a useful purpose due to the amount of traffic at an intersection the situation is vastly different in Grenada where there might just be one or two lanes and with limited vehicles.
He said that the new Congress government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell should have reviewed the proposal of the NNP regime to bring back traffic lights on the island.
“They could have said don’t worry about this,” he quipped.
According to the official, the fact that traffic lights are back on the agenda, the issue now at hand is the maintenance aspect of it.
“This thing what I see there is a bit more sophisticated than previously – they have to train people. That doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said.
The experienced Engineer recalled that the past NNP regime had difficulties in sourcing bulbs for the first set of traffic lights which became obsolete soon after being installed on the island.
The traffic lights in several areas of the country were shut down due to issues with spare parts, especially electronic boards.
THE NEW TODAY understands that a private contractor was recruited by the then government to look after the traffic light system but withheld his service due to lack of payment for his work by the Ministry of Public Utilities.
The private sector entity often complained that government workers were giving problems in processing claims sent for financial payment from the Treasury.
The engineer recalled seeing police officers with limited or no technical training trying to fix circuit boards that were giving problems.
The former NNP regime reportedly spent around $5 million installing the first set of traffic lights in the country.