By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
Gladstone Road will be transformed into a four-lane highway over its entire length - from Carmichael Road to John F Kennedy (JFK) Drive - by end-2024, it was revealed last night.
Lambert Knowles, principal of Engineering and Technical Services (ETS), and lead engineer on the Gladstone Road Improvement Project, told a town hall meeting: “After discussions with the Ministry of Works on the studies, the design criteria was to increase Gladstone Road to four lanes.
“Then the width of each lane will be 12 feet, enough to provide six-foot sidewalks on both sides of Gladstone Road for the full length wherever it is possible. To provide a bicycle path outside of the driving surface.
“To provide bus stops with approximately half of a mile maximum distance between any of the bus stops. To provide sight distance for speed at 350 feet, so that you can see a vehicle and a posted speed, and the design speed of 35 miles per hour.”
New roundabouts will be constructed at the new Rubis gas station, and another near Aquinas College high school. There will also be changes to the roundabout at JFK Drive and Gladstone Road.
Mr Knowles said: “The biggest problem we found with Gladstone Road after a two-year investigation was with the existing gap layout. The existing JFK layout has a significant issue with not allowing traffic to slow down westbound coming along JFK.
“They basically zoom through and prevent anybody else getting on the roundabout, especially north-bound from Gladstone Road. Plus, it’s also unsafe, because of the speeds you can get going around the roundabout. One of the main things to be done was to try and correct that.”
The JFK roundabout will be expanded to three lanes in some areas, and will be dual lane for the most part. Mr Knowles said this will create better traffic flow for that intersection, and allow vehicles exiting Gladstone Road on its north end better access to join the traffic.
There will be a total of 13 new bus stops along Gladstone Road with designs that will mirror those on Baha Mar Boulevard, with adequate pull over space. There will also be a proposed four-foot pull-over lane for both north and south-bound traffic.
Mr Knowles said: “At the moment, civil design is 90 percent complete or more; we’re just making adjustments. The intention is to go to tender, or at least put out a notification for request for tenders, sometime before the second quarter of this year.
“Then the tender award would be in just around the middle of this year. The part before we can start work is that we have to relocate the utility poles, so we’re looking at starting that somewhere around the second quarter.
“Hopefully we can start road construction in the third quarter of this year. It is going to be an 18 months to 24-month project, so we’re looking at completion in the third or fourth quarter 2024.”
Mr Knowles assured residents that accessibility for motorists will be paramount, and there will be no closing off of properties during the construction process.