Traffic jams and hours of delay in Cole Bay guaranteed until December

POSTED: 08/29/11 12:17 PM

Circulation plan will not work

St. Maarten – The circulation plan the government devised to improve traffic flow to and from Simpson Bay will not work and will cause motorists hours of delay until the work on the Welfare Road is finished. Today tested the routes and found that there is a bottleneck in Cole Bay at the point where traffic coming from the Wellington Road turns left onto Union Road to join the traffic coming from Simpson Bay towards Philipsburg.
On Friday in the early afternoon this bottleneck caused a trip from Mullet Bay to Philipsburg to last one hour and seven minutes. The trip to Mullet Bay, with a departure time of ten thirty, took just half an hour.
But on Saturday it appeared that the delays will be much worse during rush hour. Coming from the direction of the airport around one o’clock in the afternoon, it took three quarters of an hour to reach the Plaza del Lago, where Top Carrot is located. At that time, traffic was backed up from the Sr. Patientia Road, just past the end of the airport’s runway. Just two hours later, there was a traffic jam almost all the way back to the airport.
Coming from Philipsburg on Friday morning, it appeared that most motorists were avoiding the Harold Jack Hill and opted instead to drive over the G. Alexis Arnell Road, aka the Cakehouse Road, to join traffic on the union road at the corner with the Manjack Drive. While traffic over the Harold Jack Hill flowed smoothly, cards were back up on the Cakehouse Road.
Merging the two lines was further complicated because, contrary to an announcement by the New Works department that the circulation plan would be in place on Friday morning, there was still traffic coming from the opposite direction, making two lane one-way traffic impossible.
On Orange Grove Road traffic was also still two-way late on Friday morning. At the end of the road, where it joins the Wellington Road, workers were still busy setting up traffic signs.
While in spite of these inconveniences, driving towards Simpson Bay towards the end of Friday morning was still doable, the return trip gave a taste of what is in store for motorists until mid-December when the work on Union road is scheduled to be completed.
Traffic came to a virtual halt well before the Simpson Bay Bridge and it trundled on at a snail’s pace for well over three quarters of an hour.
At the Wellington Road-Union Road junction a lone officer of the Control Unit directed traffic to the left, but her presence did little to nothing to improve the flow. Motorists soon found out that they had a cumbersome venture ahead of them: merging with traffic in the right hand lane at the point where contractor Windward Roads has started to break up the tarmac in the left hand lane.

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