Traffic jam for villages
By RICHARDSON DHALAI Monday, January 7 2013
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Poor planning: Residents of Diamond and Esperance villages in south Trinidad yesterday protest the closure of a main road due to work on the Point For...
WITH today’s start of the new school term, students from Barrackpore, Diamond and Esperance villages, may face delays in getting to classes due to the closure of a main road from this morning.
Contractors working on the Golconda-to-Debe section of the Point Fortin to San Fernando Highway, are reportedly planning to close the main road between Diamond Village and Esperance Village.
As a result, traffic from these two villages, including lower parts of Barrackpore, would have to make a diversion that would involve driving into San Fernando, then back into both villages from either end.
Yesterday, residents of Diamond and Esperance villages, staged a protest on the section of the Papourie Main Road in Diamond Village, to condemn the proposed road closure.
Among the protesters were taxi drivers who complained that their trips out of Esperance Village, east of the main road, and Diamond Village to the west, would cause transport hardships especially for schoolchildren.
Construction of the highway has reached an area in which excavation work is being done for the building of an underpass through the Diamond Village main road.
Esperance Village is on the eastern side where the Picton Primary School is located.
Children living in Diamond Village, located on the western side of the proposed underpass, attend that school.
In Diamond Village there is the Servol Early Childhood Centre (SECC) as well as the Diamond Village ECC Centre. Canaan Presbyterian Primary is also located west of Diamond Village.
The protesters are contending that if the contractors close off the Diamond Village main road, school buses picking up children in Esperance Village who attend the SECC, the Diamond Village ECC and Canaan Presbyterian Primary would have to travel to Golconda, into San Fernando, then through Duncan Village to drop them off. Pupils living in Diamond Village who attend Picton Primary east of the underpass, and the Debe High School, who have to journey into San Fernando, travel through Golconda to reach Esperance and Debe.
Taxi driver Nolan Ramlal said the demonstration was organised to “highlight our concerns about this road being closed, which is going to affect a lot of people, schoolchildren, commuters and the work force in general.”
Ramlal said, “I think this whole thing has end up into poor planning because they were supposed to make a bypass to link Diamond and Esperance when they close off the main road. We are highlighting our concerns to prevent them from closing this road.”
He said the proposed route would witness vehicular traffic having to proceed along the M2 Ring Road to reach their destinations.
Saying that the main road connects two villages where there are schools, Ramlal added, “They propose that we pass through Golconda. But the main road connects two villages and it connects people from Diamond side, Penal, Duncan village, La romaine, Barrackpore, Penal and Siparia.”
Another taxi driver said commuting from Diamond Village, which normally takes between 25 to 30 minutes on mornings, would now take about two hours if the roadway is blocked today. He said taxi drivers would have to reduce the number of trips they make.