Works Minister Emmanuel George yesterday admitted there had been traffic congestion at Long Circular and Mucurapo Roads and at Roxy Roundabout. This caused severe gridlock, resulting in frustration among the driving public. Apart from this, however, George praised the new plan, saying it worked well. He was speaking at a press conference yesterday at the ministry’s office, Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain. When he made his “first round” at 5 am yesterday, George said, the traffic flow along the major arteries was minimal. He added: “At that time, of course, there was very little traffic on the road, I was almost alone. “But I needed to traverse the course to come down Ariapita Avenue straight onto Park Street, onto Piccadilly, and then come back around through Port-of-Spain onto Tragarete Road, heading west.”
He said between 6.30 am and 7 am traffic was still moving smoothly because drivers were able to traverse the area from Ariapita Avenue and Tragarete Road and the streets in between faster than before. “To that extent, the scheme seemed to have worked,” he said. In the next hour, however, the flow of traffic drastically changed, causing major problems. That involved traffic from the west coming along Patna Street, then down Long Circular Road, where it met the traffic coming through Federation Park and heading up long Circular Road to Maraval. he added. The other problematic area, he said, was at the Roxy Roundabout, as traffic heading east clashed with traffic heading west. “Everybody coming to the roundabout from west is forced to go down Damien Street and therefore traffic coming up Tragarete Road conflicted with that traffic, and it backed up a bit. “So that is another area that we certainly have to pay some attention to,” George said. The other area was Mucurapo Road.
He said: “This was a little bit of a surprise to us. In attempting to traverse Mucurapo the traffic we encountered began way beyond Hott Shoppe and heading straight down Damien Street. Drivers accessing Mucurapo Road, the minister suggested, should use the Audrey Jeffers Highway and turn right via the Maraval Parkway onto Ariapita Avenue. He added: “Ariapita Avenue has four lanes going east and the length of time I was out there yesterday morning, Ariapita Avenue flowed uninterruptedly. Leave Mucurapo Road for the residents of the St James area.” He said the police and traffic wardens were also out in their numbers but as people got familiar with the plan, George said, the number of police and wardens would be reduced. Urging the public to exercise patience, the Works Minister said people also needed to familiarise themselves with the new routes. George said he also was aware that some areas may be difficult for pedestrians to cross and there were plans for zebra crossings. The factor which would influence whether the plan was permanently implemented was a general reduction in travel time, he added. “We can give no guarantees but we will be measuring those times during the course of the operation.”