Published On: Sat, Jul 23rd, 2016

Bridging the gap

Bridging the gap

ST CATHERINE’S centuries-old Flat Bridge is once again featured prominently in the news with last week’s accident that claimed the lives of six people when the Suzuki Vitara they were travelling in plunged into the Rio Cobre. A general traffic ‘hot spot’, there has been renewed calls for a modern construction instead the historic beam bridge. Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr, director of the Mona GeoInformatics Institute at the University of the West Indies, while sympathising with the loss of lives in that incident, said more attention is needed to address driver behaviour.
“It all boils down to people’s behaviour and driver behaviour being ignored … there were eight people travelling in a vehicle made to carry five. People need to be rational and reasonable. The problem is not Flat Bridge,” he told Auto. “It would be a misuse of resources to fix Flat Bridge because of one crash when there are other roads in Jamaica far more deserving of those resources.” Reports from the Jamaica Constabulary Force are that about 1:00 am, the six were among eight people in a Suzuki Grand Vitara motor car travelling towards Bog Walk when the driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle and ran into the river. Investigators said those who perished drowned before help could reach them. A 19-year-old was saved while the driver, who fled the scene, eventually turned himself in. He will be charged on six counts of manslaughter. Lyew-Ayee Jr said, according to data from the Jamaica National Foundation-sponsored traffic-crashmap.monagis.com, you are nine-times more likely to die on the Drax Hall main road in St Ann than Flat Bridge in Bog Walk. “There have been three multiple-fatality crashes in Drax Hall this year and nine last year. There was one mulitple-fatality crash in Bog Walk this year and one last year. Inevitably, Flat Bridge needs to be upgraded, but it should be driven by data and economic justification not emotions.” Stephen Shaw, National Works Agency’s communication and customer services manager, said his organisation has been examining various…

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